Originally see here: https://www.quora.com/What-does-it-take-to-be-a-good-sales-engineer
Don’t settle for good; strive for greatness.
A great SE will have a strong mix of technical prowess, business acumen, salesmanship, communication skills (written and verbal), and (what I’ll call a) likeability factor.
While most SE’s do come from a technical background, I’ve seen great SE’s without this. It depends on the maturity of the product/solution and who the buyers are. Typically, if it is a more mature solution and the buyer is on the business side, then the SE is more of a solution expert and doesn’t need to be “technical” by nature. For earlier-stage solutions or solutions being sold to Technical buyers, then the SE will need the technical skills (coding/scripting) to configure or customize the POC or demo for the target buyer.
A great SE will ask a lot of questions a be a great listener to uncover the business issues and technical challenges that the prospect has. He/she will then translate that and demonstrate (or explain) how the technical features/capabilities of the solution directly address this issues/challenges.
The great SE’s help the prospect visualize themselves using the solution. The SE will convince the buyer that the solution benefits will far outweigh any perceived risk. This is performed by gaining trust, through spending time with prospects and delivery of customized demos/presentations.