Yoav Vilner is the CEO and Co-founder of startup Walnut.
Ishan Pandey: Hi Yoav Vilner, welcome to our series “Behind the Startup.” Please tell us about yourself and the story behind Walnut?
Yoav Vilner: I'm Walnut's CEO and Co-founder. Prior to that, I was a founding member of an anti-bullying startup, CEO of a tech marketing company helping over 600 startups worldwide, a writer for top publications such as Forbes, Inc, CNBC, and a mentor for accelerators. Walnut was born when my co-founder and I realized what was the toughest nut to crack in the entire sales process.
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Ishan Pandey: Please tell us a little bit about Walnut and kindly also elaborate on the importance of product-led growth?
Yoav Vilner: Walnut allows SaaS companies to demonstrate their products in a brilliant way: prospects get a fast, personalized and interactive demo experience, rather than a boring presentation that doesn't lead to a conversion. We're lucky to be pioneering the space.
Ishan Pandey: Developing a PLG approach is critical, particularly now that the reduced cost of setting up a SaaS startup is fueling increased competition in this sector. What's the major distinction between product-led and traditional growth strategies?
Yoav Vilner: PLG simply means letting your product do the talking. So, the focus is on making the prospect get value as fast as possible, without going on 5 SDR calls. The problem is, that most companies don't know how to approach this technique properly, or they simply show the same, boring, and generic demo to everyone, whether on live calls or on their website.
Ishan Pandey: Kindly explain to our readers the major product-led growth acquisition models and why are they particularly gaining so much traction in recent years?
Yoav Vilner: We're at an interesting intersection: Since 2020, most sales operations have gone remote, which was a new reality to deal with. Between SaaS growing like crazy, and the frustration from low conversion rates from generic demos, a common decision was made that something needed to change.
Ishan Pandey: As a pioneer in the startup world, what are some tips and tricks you would like to share with upcoming entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own company?
Yoav Vilner: Be brave, be confident, and don't take "no's" too harshly. Find the best founding team you could imagine.
Ishan Pandey: Marketers use product marketing to entice customers to become willing to purchase a product and test it out immediately. Is this strategy implemented in the PLG approach?
Yoav Vilner: Product marketing managers are very involved in a company's PLG process. They help with pricing experiments, personalizations, offerings and even which features to show. They play a critical role in the understanding of the prospect.
Ishan Pandey: According to recent reports, 91% of SaaS-based organizations intend to increase their participation in PLG initiatives, with 47% planning to double their spending. Do you think this trend will continue through the upcoming years in the SaaS-based business industry?
Yoav Vilner: This trend will become the norm. Companies are seeking ways to cut costs, be efficient, and most importantly, convert more prospects to customers. So far, PLG has been proven to achieve all of that.
Ishan Pandey: According to you, what new trends are we going to see in the industry in the next five years?
Yoav Vilner: I'd take such prophecies with a grain of salt. But in my opinion, after the upcoming market downturn will start recovering, the main trend we'll see is startups thriving and surviving only if they provide real value to the client's bottom line goals.
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