Building A Category In Tech

Building A Category In Tech

In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey welcomes Yoav Vilner to the show. Our guest, straight from New York, New York, is the founder and CEO of Walnut. Tune in for the CEO duo’s insights on leveraging personalized sales demos to increase sales while building a category in tech.

Covered In This Episode

What is your business category? To successfully grow your business, you need to know where you are currently and what category you belong to. And if you don’t know these things yet, it’s time to determine it.

Do you need help building a category in your industry, especially in tech? Listen to what Matt and Yoav have to say about it. Within their conversation, you will also learn about personalizing sales demos to properly highlight how your target market can benefit from your products or services. 

Get Started with Full Scale

Moreover, there’s an overview introduction to Walnut, Yoav’s company. And how they can help you build a personalized sales demo quickly yet efficiently. What are you waiting for? Tune in now.

Learn How to Build and Scale Your Business

Highlights

  • The story of how Yoav Vilner’s journey in tech started (02:11)
  • How Walnut helps entrepreneurs with personalized sales demos (05:10)
  • Teaching entrepreneurs to demonstrate the value proposition of their products and services (09:39)
  • What are the two types of demos? (10:55)
  • Geographical locations and other considerations when doing demos (11:54)
  • Lessons learned from previous ventures (13:00)
  • The difficulties in the funding process (16:47)
  • How entrepreneurs can run a leaner business (19:50)
  • Early-stage tips for sales and marketing (22:37)
  • Questions to ask when getting feedback on your MVP and validating an idea (27:21)
  • What is the most critical trait of a successful founder? (32:09)
  • How Walnut retains customers (33:31)

Key Quotes

You said that people will build a product and technology, and get on to sales and marketing later on. That makes zero sense. Your competitors will build their brand long before you do and they will start selling. And they would bring on their head of sales or even a VP for sales before you do. And by that time, it’s too late.

– Yoav Vilner

I would say—be brave during this upcoming recession. I would say trust your instincts and bring on the best people you can for your first seed team. I would say that try to build a category, like try to be the one mover of your market. And sometimes, it can work out.

– Yoav Vilner

And, you know, we’re in a golden age of things. There’s people solving problems for all types of stuff. You just gotta get out there and look for it.

– Matt DeCoursey
Business Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Rough Transcript

The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.

00:00.00

Matt DeCoursey

And we’re back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. Now, sometimes, when it comes to the category that your business operates in, you might not even know what it is. At Full Scale, which is my company, we started out as a tech services company and have progressed to tech-enabled services. And then sometimes, you end up just building your own category in tech. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Before I introduce today’s guest, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult, and Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. It has the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. With me today, I’ve got Yoav Vilner; he is the CEO and founder of Walnut. The industries they serve, or maybe even the new industries or categories they’re creating, are related to tech, SaaS sales, and marketing. You can learn more about his company by going to the show notes and clicking the link for Walnut.io. There’s also a link for Full Scale down there. Straight out of New York, New York, Yoav, welcome to Startup Hustle.

01:16.26

Yoav Vilner

Thanks for having me. It’s a great show. Glad to be here.

01:19.30

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, I’m always looking forward to chatting about this, like anything that involves selling or marketing things. So before we get into that, let’s start with a little bit of backstory about yourself and Walnut.

01:32.10

Yoav Vilner

Um, sure. So for me, this is my one run as a founder. Prior to that, I was a founding member of a text-out-up designed to save kids from social media bullying. And prior to that, I owned a company that kind of coined the term tech marketing, growth marketing, and all that’s been widely used today. I helped startups with their growth before. It was cool. And Walnut, lucky for me, Walnut is the fastest thing to build.

02:05.77

Matt DeCoursey

Well, then, and you’re clearly doing something right. And yeah, we don’t normally get too far into this, but $56000000 worth of investment to validate that. What you’re doing is on to something. Ah, now we, you know, mentioned talking about building a new category in tech. Do you consider yourself to have done that in the past? Or that’s currently what’s going on with Walnut?

02:29.90

Yoav Vilner

Yeah, for sure. Um, and much beyond what we could have imagined.

02:32.68

Matt DeCoursey

Um, okay, so well, tell me why.

02:38.28

Yoav Vilner

Well, you know, every startup, upon inception, would say they’re building a category, right? When they’re talking to prospects, raising funds, and bringing on the founding team and everything. And it makes sense because usually, startups would build things that don’t exist. But then, after a year or two, you kind of get used to the fact that you haven’t really pioneered a huge category in tech. No one’s really given a crap, and now you have to start selling just like a regular company. Um, what happened to us was kind of insane. You know it was. We started with people on a waitlist, including VPS from Fortune 500 companies, which literally said if you guys can fulfill your vision. This is a new category in tech, and specifically in B2B sales, which is as broken as you can imagine. 

03:32.91

Matt DeCoursey

Um, totally, yeah.

03:34.76

Yoav Vilner

Um, and you know, fast forward like after Galos released reports saying that interactive demos are the next big thing. Um, the press. The media gets 20 or 30 unique press coverage every month based on the category we’re developing, so it’s no longer just the one founder. You know, claiming it. It’s actually something the market is given back to us.

03:56.23

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, an overnight sensation several years in the making, right? So so, with Walnut and I, yeah, I mentioned that I love talking about sales and marketing stuff because of the look in any business. Nothing really occurs until something gets sold.

03:59.75

Yoav Vilner

Exactly.

04:14.55

Matt DeCoursey

Right? So sales are obviously the driver of your revenue and, really, in the end, the validation metric that matters at a business because if you don’t sell stuff well, eventually that well is going to run dry, but I love what you guys are building Because. Walnut helps with personalized sales Demos. Now, why is personalized important? If you can actually speak like or come close to speaking to the person that you want to sell to, you have a much, much greater chance Of. Making that sale or getting them to pay attention. But my question is, how do you go about it? Ah, when it comes to the personalization of a sales demo or a process or any of that. How do you go about trying to personalize that and understanding what that viewer listener buyer is? Prospect client anything. How do you know? What to put in there other than, hey Yoav, look and listen to what I’m selling here like how do you?? How do you figure anything out past that?

05:19.72

Yoav Vilner

Right? So, first of all, there’s a lot of data in the different CRMs that we plug into, but you know, even beyond that, the most basic rule that we have is that no two prospects are alike, so initially, not just about editing text.

05:31.55

Matt DeCoursey

Track.

05:36.88

Yoav Vilner

It could be as not even showing the same set of features if one prospect is from gaming and another prospect is from a cyber company. It doesn’t make sense for them to see the exact same experience, and this is what they have made. Let’s call it b two c sales or consumer sales or whatever you want to call it. Um. Such, um, such an impressive development over the last couple of years, right? Where you can just go to Google type. Whatever it gets to your house. You didn’t have to talk to a scrum, and in b two b sales, everything kind of got stuck at a point in history where there’s no boring dashboard that you would show. Thousands of different prospects from different sizes and backgrounds. Um, and that’s exactly where we stepped in, and we said, you know, use our platform, which is as easy as editing a website on Wix. Um, and it’s on our cloud, so it won’t break during that live call that you have in a couple of minutes.

06:26.52

Matt DeCoursey

Um.

06:32.90

Yoav Vilner

Um, and you can collaborate with your team members and everything, and you can customize drag and drop until it fits the exact needs of your prospect.

06:35.90

Matt DeCoursey

Possible. Yeah. I should probably give a shout-out to Wix. They’re a regular sponsor of this show. So um, yeah, and you know you look at well you look at a company like Wix, and they made designing a website. Easy.

06:45.68

Yoav Vilner

Um, you should, and we’re also back.

06:56.90

Matt DeCoursey

You know, like a drag and drop kind of thing for people that might not have inherently been technically proficient now as a salesperson. I’m rare because I actually have a lot of tech chops and skills. I don’t write code. But I mean, I can get into the weeds, and I’m a big automation nut, but I Also. Ah. As a salesperson openly admitting on Behalf of my peers that are sales salespeople are usually aren’t inherently technical. They’re kind of process-driven. Does Walnut help with that as well-meaning like, not just like, so here’s the demo? But then what.

07:31.49

Yoav Vilner

Oh yeah, it’s exactly, and you know, when we just launched, so the media was like this is a Wix for sales. Um, and they took it because of the codeless approach and empowering salespeople not to need favors from the product or R & D. We’re also backed by the CEO of Wix. He’s our angel investor. And so a lot of this really helped you know the press go for that week for sales type of positioning even though we switched far far away from that where we’re a whole platform now. But um, but this is what we wanted to solve initially. We wanted to remove that friction between salespeople.

07:51.35

Matt DeCoursey

Chance.

08:07.78

Yoav Vilner

And then product R and D design and anyone’s backend.

08:10.50

Matt DeCoursey

So one of the things that I, yeah, I’ve said I was literally talking to our salespeople at Full Scale about this today as, you know, the idea that you have to speak to the benefit that is provided feature. No one cares about your features; they care about the benefits of what you’re selling. You know, like in the process. Ah, let’s talk about creating a demo. So what does Walnut do to help? Well, okay, I’m a backup; even more, you’d be shocked at how many business owners and salespeople and sales directors. Have no clue on how to demonstrate something, so how? yeah, and for those who can’t see the video right now, you are nodding your head with me in congress because this is a real problem. How do you go about it? How do you do it? How do you solve that problem? How do you teach someone to understand how to demonstrate the value proposition? Of their own stuff.

09:07.90

Yoav Vilner

Right? That’s a great question. Um, the way that we look at it. So what? What people? Um, think as templates for the different demos that you can have, we refer to as storylines, and then each storyline is designed for a specific type of prospect. So. That process that I mentioned that None where you replicate your product into your whole product into our environment, and then you can create the demos out of so you can actually create storylines and storylines would fit each prospect based on what they need, um, you could just ah just like on a Google doc you can collaborate with your team members and.

09:34.35

Matt DeCoursey

Plus.

09:47.44

Yoav Vilner

Your team could say this is the best storyline for our sidebar prospect etc. Um, so we’re kind of throwing a lot of different brick and Mo solutions out of the curve, right? So you don’t need Scripts. You don’t need a PowerPoint presentation. You don’t need a looming video, and the list goes on.

09:49.30

Matt DeCoursey

Will.

09:56.91

Matt DeCoursey

11 away.

10:04.72

Matt DeCoursey

What do you do? What do you think in a and I know this is ah a really broad question to throw at someone. But what do you think the appropriate length of a product demo should be?

10:14.37

Yoav Vilner

Um, so we’re divided into two types of demos. There’s a live demo if you go on the Zoom and you actually demonstrate that interactive product. But also there’s ah, there’s an interactive demo. You can just send it via the link, and then it’s scalable because you can send it to one of the people at once.

10:19.24

Matt DeCoursey

You had.

10:32.66

Yoav Vilner

Ah, we haven’t seen successful demos run more than a couple of minutes. Actually, we’ve literally seen salespeople kind of eliminate 60 or 70% of the function. So you know, the client doesn’t get to ask too many questions. So normally, it would be less than 10 minutes.

10:35.40

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, yes.

10:49.73

Yoav Vilner

And if you send it via link. Obviously, it’s going to take like 1 minute, right they’re going to play with it a little bit and then reach back to you.

10:57.25

Matt DeCoursey

Okay, so before we hit record, you mentioned that you also spend some time in Tel Aviv as well as New York, but do you have to give any. Ah, do you have to give consideration when building a demo to a geographic location, like selling to people in Tel Aviv or in that region different than selling to someone in New York other than language? Yeah.

11:20.50

Yoav Vilner

Um, everything is now. Yeah, everything is now very global and remote and distributed. So we haven’t seen many barriers in terms of actual country and location and everything.

11:33.76

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, yeah, that was just ah, kind of it came to mind, and we deal with people from all different. You know, countries that have a lot of employees do all of our but all. But. A single-digit number of our employees are not located in the United States, and we’ve gained a very strong grasp on understanding the local culture, and that’s probably more along the lines of having and keeping, and retaining employees than anything else. So okay, so. When it comes to what you learn from your prior startup ventures that have carried into this one, that has been the most valuable.

12:17.42

Yoav Vilner

Wow! So so many lessons when I went up when I first took yeah how long do we have? Um, so when I first took on a Ceo position, I was 22 and so.

12:22.77

Matt DeCoursey

Ah, an appropriate answer could have been holding my beer yeah area.

12:36.85

Yoav Vilner

You can imagine every mistake possible, um, is not being sensitive enough with team members being too sensitive, caring too much about the wrong things, not caring about the right things, and you know again, the lease goes on and then the more that I developed as a founder.

12:52.70

Matt DeCoursey

1 of them.

12:56.64

Yoav Vilner

Time and time again, I learned, and I learned a couple of really interesting lessons. None of them. It doesn’t get more important than your founding team like your idea is nice. Your Mvp is cool. Um, even your couple of angel investors. You should probably pick them. Um, you know. Ah, wisely, but your founding team would literally dictate if you’re going to turn your precedes startup into a real thing. Um, and you need the best, the best you know tech person you can find the best business person you can find whatever your own background is just. You know, complement it with the others, but you can say I have a great idea, and I have some investors that I know, so I’m just going to take some random people, and this will be a startup company. That’s probably, and I and I would say um in Walnuts in Walnut’s case I was very lucky I was even amazed.

13:42.43

Matt DeCoursey

Or months.

13:50.29

Yoav Vilner

At the level of people that have ditched their senior positions and have come over to be our employee even before we raise our None seed um, and it was during covid, so people were holding on to their jobs, and we were very lucky about that.

14:06.32

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, I think one of the things I learned early with this show. I mean, we’re so, but you know this will be roughly the 900-plus episode Startup Hustle. But. Pretty early in the sequence, like in somewhere in the hundreds, I was out in San Francisco at Techcrunch, and I was talking to people that were at different startups, and I was asking them I was, like do you have a hard time recruiting against these tech giants that are around every corner here in San Francisco and most of the people that I interviewed if not close to all of them said no not at all because people don’t find a particular level of passion or buy-in in working at Facebook because they don’t really inherently get jazzed up about helping people post pictures of what they ate for dinner. Or something like that, and yeah, really kind of opened my eyes about the need. Well, how important it is for so many of your early employees to buy in and really kind of be involved with what you’re doing so you know as. Once again, with me today, I’ve got Yoav Vilner, and Yoav is the CEO and founder of Walnut. Go to Walnut io. I really like what you’re building here, and it’s ah ah, something that I’m going to check out after this recording because I love the personalized approach. I do spend a lot of time talking to my team about this because like with what we’re a small batch sales organization being like we don’t serve full Full Scales got just over 40 clients, and that’s enough for us to have employees, but with that, we try to take a personalized approach. I’ve really had a challenge with a personalized product demo, so you are creating something new I looked at this. There are some things that that I found along the way that we’re kind of like, and I want to say, like low budget productions like you could like record there at your desktop and kind of like. Branch things off or whatever, but they weren’t. They weren’t very sophisticated, so you are working on creating a new category now with how difficult it was in the fundraising process because I have found that when you’re. Well, first off, I think that sales and marketing tools depend on whoever you’re talking to as an investor. They either love them or hate them. Some investors are like yeah, Nah, I don’t need another marketing platform, you know, or ah or whatever. But what kind of headwinds did you sail into?

16:29.50

Matt DeCoursey

Showing up and being like we have a new category here.

16:32.21

Yoav Vilner

Right? So like I said, it was during the first Covid lockdown VCs were shrinking. Literally, LPs were not transferring funds to the VCs, and everything totally went crazy. People were losing their jobs, and founders were, you know, shutting down.

16:51.49

Matt DeCoursey

Hold.

16:51.98

Yoav Vilner

People told us this is a crazy time to be going out for a seed round. Are you guys completely insane? Um, but again there was a really strong founder Fit Market fit waitlist of 700 people. Everything happens super fast. We got it.

17:03.30

Matt DeCoursey

Stops.

17:09.16

Yoav Vilner

Very very smart people to back us, including sea levels or founders at companies like Wix and Google and salesforce and Hubspot and Github and more, and overall um, really humbled to be working with the funds that I’ve invested. Um, I think that, and you know how it’s now it’s a crisis time again. So people.

17:24.54

Matt DeCoursey

And you might.

17:29.14

Yoav Vilner

Listening to this podcast and setting out to raise their seed round are going to encounter the same difficult questions. Um, that we encountered two years ago, but I think the best VCs believe that during recessions and crisis times. That’s when the strongest founders.

17:31.16

Matt DeCoursey

Like.

17:44.90

Matt DeCoursey

What was?

17:48.25

Yoav Vilner

Get revealed. That’s where the best companies get long, get built, and so I definitely think they should still go for it.

17:54.74

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, I think that there’s a lot you talk about the headwinds or the general tone and timbre of the media, and you know, ah, VC funding drying up. Yeah, I don’t think you can compare being a seed-level startup to. A lot of that’s going to look. There is more dry powder in Vc bank accounts than ever right now, and they’re still hungry men they still need to invest. They still want to find good businesses with great founding teams, so build a great business with a great founding team. I think that there’s also a Darwinistic effect, and we saw this in the 2008 range, and now maybe again, you know, who knows, time will tell. But if you’re not running a sound business, if you’re running a business, It’s just a cash inferno. Um, well, why would people want to dump more money into it? I think that eventually, ah, there has to be there. Well, I think we got away from being in love with profitability and growth. Going hand in hand, not just growing your revenue but spending $10 to bring one back? Um, who knows, I think, but I think these are healthy, healthy times. Um. So yeah, do you have any recommendations for running a leaner business, or what have you ever needed to consider right now.

19:18.69

Yoav Vilner

Um, I think in the past two months, every founder has gone to Zoom with their bold members and had to listen to the same lecture, right? So you have to live, you have to have a runway for the next two years, and you have to cut expenses.

19:21.44

Matt DeCoursey

Um, what.

19:36.76

Yoav Vilner

And I totally get their perspective, right? Because they’ve seen this happen before, and they know that you can completely get destroyed if you don’t run this crisis financially. Um, ah, lucky for me, I take every action together with our, you know, VP finance and our advisors and our bold. So I don’t. Don’t make as foolish decisions as I would as a one-man show. Um, but definitely, It’s no longer about showing how fast you can grow inefficiently, which is what has happened so far and what has made a lot of companies become unicorn companies. Um, it’s about actually providing value. Having recurring business. Um, there’s a dozen of very, very um, aggressive metrics that founders now need to face in order to be able to raise their next round. Who knows, maybe it will change back in a year from now.

20:28.15

Matt DeCoursey

But one.

20:30.63

Yoav Vilner

It’s very clear. It’s not going to be as in terms of valuations and everything it’s going. It’s not going to be as crazy as it used to be.

20:36.52

Matt DeCoursey

It seems crazy that any business owner needs to be advised to operate within their means. To me, that just sounds crazy. You know, like if you think on a personal level. You can’t grossly outspend your income businesses. And governments, for that same reason, shouldn’t be able to do it now for you. If you want to save a few dollars on software developers finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io, where you can build a software team quickly and affordably use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs. And then see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team at Full Scale. We have the people, the process, and the platform to help you build an affordable team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more? Um, so. When it comes like now, let’s kind of get back to the sales thing. So many early-stage companies are so obsessed with building a product. It’s like they forget to try to sell something along the way. I think that trying to figure out your sales and marketing too late can be a very deadly mistake. What are some? What are some tips that you can give for businesses in the early stages when it comes to figuring out how to sell stuff?

21:56.90

Yoav Vilner

Yeah, selling stuff is ah is a nice thing to do um my.

22:02.45

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, and you gotta do it as I, dude. I’m telling you, it shocks me how many people I talk to, and I’m like, what are you doing for sales and marketing. We’re going to figure that out later. Oh man, that’s not a good plan.

22:12.92

Yoav Vilner

So and another nice gig that I had, um, it was. It was voluntary, so I don’t know if it’s called a gig, but I was a mentor and an advisor in a couple of tech accelerators by the top companies, and so I got exposed to a couple of hundreds of startups.

22:24.23

Matt DeCoursey

Me.

22:30.80

Yoav Vilner

My usual tip was that, um, kind of what you just said, right? You said that people would build a product and technology and get on to sales and marketing later on. That makes zero sense. Your competitors will build their brand long before you do, and they will start selling. And they would bring on their head of sales or even a VP for sales before you do, and by that time, it’s too late. You’re going to try and get a CMO or VP of sales, and you’re going to make every hiring mistake possible. So from day one, and if it’s a founding team just based on you know tech people. Get someone like hire someone that’s from the market-side, but you have to start selling. You have to build that pipeline; you have to build a waitlist. Um, you’re not going to be able to, especially in this upcoming task. You’re not going to be able to raise funds just based on building a product anymore.

23:25.30

Matt DeCoursey

So Let’s talk a little bit more about building and acquiring that sales team, and this is why I love tools like Walnut. Do you know? Okay, so I talk about controlling the narrative a little bit when it comes to sales, like here’s the things that we really need to focus on Now. Do you think Walnut would help with that as opposed to just like you kind of send your salespeople out, and you’re hoping they’re saying the lines or so or so you know speaking about the company the way you want it to, I mean how do you get control. How do you get control of that? How is something like Walnut the way to do that? Oh.

24:03.70

Yoav Vilner

Other There are a lot of interesting use cases for all that I’ve seen, and by the way not, not just from sales. You wouldn’t imagine the type of use cases that people have like we’ve gotten product teams and product marketing teams, and we’ve gotten CMOS, and we’ve even got founders before demo day.

24:22.21

Matt DeCoursey

Okay, that’s.

24:22.88

Yoav Vilner

Or founders want to showcase investors. Everyone just wants to have that tiny bit of opportunity to kind of create drag and drop and customize their own product. Um, you know, I think that we have a lot of impact on the go-to-market strategy of the companies. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have gotten ah hundreds of customers in 2 years, I think.

24:33.60

Matt DeCoursey

Um, watch me.

24:42.46

Yoav Vilner

It’s an actual impact on the go-to-market strategy of showcasing your product on the one-touch point um embedded it embedding on your web pages and everything, so it’s really really as far as I see it, this whole demo concept is not just a one-time thing um, and we’re very lucky enough to be working with.

24:52.70

Matt DeCoursey

No.

24:58.87

Matt DeCoursey

English, so you mentioned having 700 people on your waitlist before you really had anything. How’d you do that?

25:00.88

Yoav Vilner

Great companies on that.

25:10.57

Yoav Vilner

Right? So so proud of my background and to you know it’s not a fact that my our competitors are fans of part of my background is obviously the marketing and Brandon and and and all that.

25:12.76

Matt DeCoursey

Love, you know what thing about me.

25:25.53

Yoav Vilner

And so we’ve been considered a very strong brand in b two b sales ever since day one. Um, and it’s like ah, it’s like a combination of a lot of things of you know, being mentioned everywhere of being featured on product hunt and being ranked None for three times of being praised all over the place and.

25:45.15

Matt DeCoursey

So.

25:45.32

Yoav Vilner

Ah, there is a lot of word of mouth, a lot of influencers talk about us, a lot of um, very, very viral videos. We have generated one of the views. Organically um, this is all you know, and these are just tiny pieces of a huge puzzle that I called to build a massive brand. Um, and so this was all part of the inception that we had, um, but honestly, the waitlist started from the validation where we interviewed 70 VP cells, and we asked them about our very attractive MVP that we were working on at the time. Um, and they asked to be part of a waitlist.

26:13.36

Matt DeCoursey

And freedom.

26:19.97

Yoav Vilner

And it grew from 70 to 700.

26:21.62

Matt DeCoursey

Can you share a couple of the things that you were looking for when it came to when you talk? I love that I love the open admission of a not-very attractive Mvp. So many people believe that if you’re waiting till it’s pretty and perfect. You’ve waited too long.

26:37.23

Yoav Vilner

Right.

26:39.26

Matt DeCoursey

What were some of the questions that you asked when it came to getting feedback from you on your Mvp?

26:47.52

Yoav Vilner

Um, I have a tactic for that which I often share, and I think that the obvious thing to do right when you’re validating your idea is to go on the call with a prospect, show him your product and ask them if they think it’s good.

26:54.15

Matt DeCoursey

What the.

27:06.25

Yoav Vilner

Most of them would say yeah, right? Because they’re not committing to everything and they’re not pulling out their credit cards, and so they would just tell you there. It’s a good idea, and you would go all happy back to your spreadsheet and say prospects think it’s a good idea. What I tend to do is kind of otherwise. I just go on the call with them. I start by asking about.

27:06.60

Matt DeCoursey

No.

27:19.71

Matt DeCoursey

Project. No.

27:25.84

Yoav Vilner

Their challenges, you know the sales stack is huge. It’s the so-called Red Ocean. There are a lot of tools. What are your struggles? What’s your pain? What? What are you not being able to solve with the existing tools, and we just saw everyone going back again and again to that friction between salespeople and anyone else in the company?

27:31.97

Matt DeCoursey

But

27:45.56

Yoav Vilner

And then when we said so, we had this Mvp. We’re building to kind of let the salespeople own the demo, then it really hits them, and they want it to be part of the waitlist, and so I think if you don’t really dictate what your idea is on the first, you know on the first part of the call then you might get better results. Later on.

28:04.29

Matt DeCoursey

I have a golden rule, and Mvp or really any. It doesn’t even need to be an Mvp. My rule one is this annoying. And if the answer is even, maybe you have to go back and rethink it because you are going to have the greatest product or platform in the world. But if it is, it won’t be the greatest product or platform in the world if parts of it are annoying, but little tiny things will annoy users and make them bounce. And you know, getting people to admit that is sometimes a challenge. Now I’m in Kansas City, so here in the midwest, people are often referred to as and don’t take this the wrong way. New Yorker that we’re, we’re a little less. We’re a little less. We’re nicer. Um, ah, now I personally maybe have more of a New York attitude because if you want me to tell you exactly what I think, then ask and I will um, but I mean that’s important, and then honestly I think that sometimes people look for feedback from the wrong sources. Ah, Matt Watson and I did a 52-part series last year about how to start a tech company, and None of the things we talked about in the Mvp phase was going and finding people that you could feel comfortable with. We’re going to tell you the truth about what it is that you’ve built, not just be nice to you. Um, and they needed to be people that are credible along the line with that. Okay, so here you are two years later with $ 56000000 in investment. What’s down the road at Walnut.

29:31.80

Yoav Vilner

Um, so we’re onboarding lots of customers all the time. We’re now growing to be None employees. Um, worldwide um, building out the platform. Just. You know, having fun building a very, very fast-growing startup is a mess, but it’s fun.

29:52.26

Matt DeCoursey

Are you willing to share a story of failure if it is fun, interesting, or just something that we find that people learn a lot more from successful people? It doesn’t even need to be with Walnut. I Just I like to ask everyone that.

30:07.55

Yoav Vilner

Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah, we didn’t have time to fail yet with Walnuts. I don’t want to jinx it. But um, yeah.

30:13.69

Matt DeCoursey

Well, it can even be anything, man. I think sometimes you do things and look back at him. You’re like, wow, I can’t believe we thought that would work.

30:22.10

Yoav Vilner

Right? So I would say that if I look at a previous venture, I had, and I was relocating from Tel Aviv to New York, and we were doing so well in our Tel Aviv branch, and I was thinking.

30:36.10

Matt DeCoursey

Well.

30:39.90

Yoav Vilner

We’re going to be a hit in Manhattan as well because this is who we are, and so I moved to Manhattan, and I was still in my twenties, and I just found out people didn’t give a crap about me, and they didn’t know the portfolio companies I had um if you had a marketing company and you didn’t own a whole building. On some avenue, then you’re nothing which kind of makes sense, right? That’s like the culture, and it’s fine, and it was a shock to me that I had to start from scratch and kind of be nobody again? Um, so I got a lot of lessons from that about planning and researching and interviewing before.

31:03.37

Matt DeCoursey

Or. Right? Whatever.

31:16.60

Yoav Vilner

Literally moving a country.

31:17.38

Matt DeCoursey

What do you do? What do you think the most important trade is for a founder you know like it? What do you do? What is the most important trait of a successful founder?

31:28.96

Yoav Vilner

You have to filter out the tips that you get. You get a lot of tips from people all the time from investors and from, you know, other founders and from clients, and everyone tries to kind of tell you how to do things. You have to be very open-minded like you know, so soak some some some wisdom in if you can, but like don’t take everyone’s tip everyone thinks that they know better and you have to believe in your own way.

31:55.59

Matt DeCoursey

Yeah, I Always my advice is to listen for an echo-like. If people keep telling you the same thing over and over, it sounds like an echo. I’m going to pay a little more attention to that input. And the one-off stuff. Also, I think you have to ask yourself a hard question along the lines of like, if I were to follow this advice. Does it bring me revenue or users or keep revenue or users, and if not, it might not be that important. Because really, in the end, that’s it. You have to solve the problem of the user, not necessarily the problem of the investor. Um, now with that, I’d like to let you know you’ve been around the block a few times. What do you do?? What’s it? What are a few things that Walnut does? When it comes to user retention, how do you reduce your churn or try to keep people in the platform because it’s so much easier to keep users you have than to go find new ones?

32:56.50

Yoav Vilner

Um, right? So we have you know your usual customer success and product marketing operations. Well, we tried to, Um, we tried to to make our clients happy. We tried to automate a lot of processes. Um, and kind of activate as much as we can. We’re expanding among organizations kind of organically lucky for us. I think that’s usually how it is with sales tools. So we see a lot of expansion and um, just you know, well old. Customer Success operations.

33:31.74

Matt DeCoursey

I think a lot of that, you know I’m at your site, and by the way, I noticed after I said it you actually have a line in here about owning the narrative. So we’re aligned on that one, but you know why that’s important, and yeah, can we? I’d like to talk about that for a second. You know, one of the things that we talk about things we struggle a lot with here on Startup Hustle, and you know, here I am. I just had a birthday at Full Scale and almost at employees, and I’ve openly admitted, especially recently, that I’ve had a very difficult time building. So I’m an excellent salesperson. And that makes it very easy for me to sell, especially to clients because my clients are CEOs and founders and CTOs and people that I may consider to be a peer, but I’ve had a difficult time, you know, Matriculating. Passing that down to other people and sales folks, and I feel like I give the list like here are the things that you need to talk about, and then I hear we’re talking about something completely different. So how do you know when you talk about owning the narrative or controlling it? Well, is there a difference, and how do you do that?

34:48.44

Yoav Vilner

Um, so I connected to points that we spoke about. One of them is my background in brand, and the other is we let people be storytellers. Um, so a lot of people come over to Walnut.

34:53.44

Matt DeCoursey

What a.

35:06.71

Yoav Vilner

As you said, it’s really, really hard to sell, and it’s really hard to dictate a narrative um in ah, any other method that’s been around. Um, so first of all, I think you have to choose that tone of voice like for some cases you have to be very serious in our case by the way you said you’re on a website we. We’re funny. Um, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and if you head over to our Youtube and Linkedin, you would probably share a laugh, and this is something that sells people love, and they share it around their different groups. Sometimes it spreads like wildfire. Um. We’ve had 1 video that people compare to the original um dollar shave club video where I get a Walnut smacked in my head. Um, and so yeah, and it took, and it took some takes, so it wasn’t a good day.

35:54.16

Matt DeCoursey

Walnuts are a hard man. You might wanna be careful with that.

36:00.67

Yoav Vilner

Um, but what is this? Yeah.

36:01.91

Matt DeCoursey

I’ll so I’ll send you a helmet or something. Ah, I think you’re onto something there, and I’ve talked about that to our marketing team as well. I’m like, let’s have a little fun with this. You know, like, because I don’t know, I think the world needs another boring sales pitch presentation, or it doesn’t quit being boring people be happy to show people who you are how you do things and. And quit acting like you’re perfect all the time because you’re not. That’s the reason I ask questions about failure on my shows. Ah, so often is the number one feedback that I’ve gotten from listeners around the world. At this point is that they like the fact that we talk. Talk about the stuff. We’re not good at the things we failed at, so I’ve delved in. I said well, tell me why and at first, I thought people just like looking at the train wreck, and then it was you talk about the echo. The overwhelming response was, well, actually, it makes me feel like I’m not a failure because, as an entrepreneur, you fail a lot. Social media helps us glorify all of our wins or the cool shit we buy with the money we’ve made, but that’s not helpful people want to know where you’ve fallen down the pit and try to help them speaking of falling down the pit. Don’t do it when you’re trying to hire software engineers if you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders. Let Full Scale help. We have the people and the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts when you visit FullScale.io; all you need to do is answer a few questions, then let our letter platform match you up with our fully vetted. Highly experienced team of software engineers, testers, and leaders at Full Scale. We specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Once again, learn more at FullScale.io. There’s a link in the show notes for that. There’s also a link to Walnut. Walnut.io, Yoav, I love what you’re building, and we’re about out of time to talk about that, and that brings us to the founders’ freestyle which is how I end my episodes. I say my episodes I’m not the only host of the show. Make sure you tune in weekly to hear what Andrew Morgans and Lauren Conaway have to say. There are a whole lot of ah Matt Watson episodes coming out, and speaking of episodes in the future, we are about to launch a new series where Matt and I will be discussing the software development life cycle. Steps of it and what’s important, what you need to look at and what you should maybe try to avoid or what might be a time suck. Now back to the founder’s freestyle Yoav. I give all my guests a chance to sum up the episode, or it’s a freestyle, dude. We’ve had people rap, sing and recite poetry. Um, ah, really, I kind of leave it up to you. But what? what would you like to leave with the listeners on the way out.

38:51.52

Yoav Vilner

I would say—be brave during this upcoming recession. I would say you trust your instincts and bring on the best people you can for your first seed team. I would say that try to build a category, like try to be the one mover of your market. And sometimes, it can work out.

39:14.53

Matt DeCoursey

Well said, well said for my freestyle. I want to just say that if you’re trying to build a sales, marketing team, or prospect, keep looking for tools like Walnut. And, you know, we’re in a golden age of things. There are people solving problems for all types of stuff. You just gotta get out there and look for it. I really like what you’re building. I like the idea of personalizing, customizing, or making it easy for someone to build a sales presentation. If you’ve never built one, it’s a lot harder than you think. I’ve actually done a tester. I’ve tried to ask. I’ve not tried. I’ve actually asked founders and CEOs, you know, and in one breath, tell me, give me your elevator pitch. Tell me why you’re great, and they can’t do it. I think that a lot of tools like Walnut are going to help you walk through and figure that out. We mentioned earlier in the show that brevity is important. You know, we’re in this world of stories and reels where you get one to 20 seconds, in some cases, to get someone’s attention. So while you’re doing that, lead with the need, like why do I want to use you? As for us at Full Scale, it’s like you are having a hard time finding developers. Do you need expert developers or something along those lines? And get someone’s attention in the beginning. You are much more likely to have them listen to the rest of the message. I have a feeling Walnut does a great job of helping you do that. Anyway, you keep building that. I’m not just saying that, folks. I am about to sign up for a trial of Walnut.io. I have high hopes that I’m going to have an amazing sales presentation at the end of it. See you next time.

40:58.51

Yoav Vilner

Amen. Thanks, man.

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