Ask A Sales Leader: Paul Doherty


This month’s “Ask A Sales Leader” is Paul Doherty. Paul is the Vice President of Sales in Europe for SDL International. He has over twenty years of experience managing operations at multi-site service-based organizations in the commercial translation services industry.

Paul and John worked together at Berlitz GlobalNet 17 years ago, and shared trans-Atlantic sales leadership responsibilities for driving revenue. In addition to working together, the gents share a friendship through common interests in story-telling, travel and the adventures of parenthood, and recently caught up on all three over dinner in Munich in May (see picture).


1. Describe how your customer facing teams use your organization’s sales process.

Our customer facing teams need to do their homework on the prospect’s company and industry sector before their initial meeting. We help our sales teams with industry sector-specific information and messaging around the business problems typically faced by companies like the one we are targeting. Since we are selling a complex solution of technology and services, we have a team approach to developing well qualified opportunities. Most deals we win have had at least four people involved in the sales process.

2. What is your Management’s approach to Coaching sales reps?

My approach is to get in front of the prospects and customers, together with the sales people. In this way, I can check the sales meeting preparation, the messaging, the meeting objectives and the post meeting follow-up and documenting the agreements and next steps. More importantly, I find out more from one face-to-face customer meeting than from any number of weekly sales reps calls. Customers are brutally honest, whereas sales reps often tell you what they think you want to hear or what they themselves honestly, but mistakenly, believe about the opportunity.

3. How do you reinforce sales skill development for sales reps?

Most sales skills are developed by the consistent use of a methodology or “best practices”. Simple things, done consistently, make the difference. Part of my job is to make sure the sales teams are doing these steps consistently and not falling back into their comfort zone of “winging” it.

4. What advice would you give to other sales leaders ?

Get out from behind your desk and get in front of your prospects and customers. Meeting prospects and customers is the biggest buzz in my job. If isn’t for you, what are you doing in sales?