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HomeInterviewsCXBuzz Interview With Yoav Vilner CEO at Walnut

CXBuzz Interview With Yoav Vilner CEO at Walnut

Hi Yoav, tell us about yourself and share some background about Walnut (and its founding story)
I’ve founded Israel’s first startup marketing company a decade ago and enjoyed helping 600 startups with their growth. We were a large team with offices in Manhattan and London, and I served as CEO for 7 good years.
Afterward, I was a founding CMO of an anti-bullying startup right before launching Walnut.
In between, I also served as a mentor in most top accelerators and wrote for large publications such as Fox News, CNBC, and Forbes magazine.
Walnut came to lifeless than a year ago and has reached amazing targets in such a short time. From a waiting list of hundreds of enterprise companies to raising funds from the first backers of the biggest tech companies in the world to growing a top-notch team.
We empower sales leaders to own their team’s sales demos, allowing the personalization of demos without needing any back-end assistance (R&D, product, design) and to gather insights and data never seen before.
My CTO and I built an initial MVP and saw that its value was through the roof, which encouraged us to launch the company officially. Danny once sold his startup to a large company, besides having tech management roles in companies such as eBay and WeWork.
Online commerce was booming in 2020; how did it affect Walnut? – What are you going to focus on this year?
The pandemic has made almost 100% of global sales go remote, which increased the need for products such as ours. It was actually a good year to launch such a sales automation product.
We believe that we’re a long way from companies resuming their old efforts of flying to f2f meetings and demos, as it represents the old world of sales, and so the need for better tools will continue rising.
How much has your industry evolved in the last 2-3 years with the arrival of automation, customer experience, and data-driven insights?
We see team leaders and sales experts in various companies hungry for more data and visibility into the sales process. The products and tools surrounding the B2B sale process are becoming more sophisticated, automatic and reduce the friction in this painful process. The startups that succeed in space turn into unicorn companies, which is also something that used to be rare until recently.

The role of CMO in the age of COVID

Tell us about the CMO role in a pandemic crisis – what role digital transformation has in this crisis?
The CMO’s of 2021 work with limited budgets, higher expectations, and more accurate KPI’s. On one hand, everything turned digital and there is more room to dominate certain industries and markets through content, social, PR, and creative methods. On the other hand, many big companies had to cut budgets during the crisis so the CMO has to focus a lot on ROI, more than ever before.
How is Walnut changing the sales enablement landscape?
Most companies demonstrate their products in a generic and “boring” matter, and sometimes even if they managed to customize the experience prior to a demo call, it’s bound to malfunction right when you need it.
We remove the friction between the sales team and the back-end teams, allowing the sales leaders to easily customize, personalize and tailor-make their demos and sales experiences without relying on any R&D or product assistance.
What makes Walnut different from your direct competitors? And how is it different than legacy players in your space?
Our approach is brand new, and when we launched the startup we mostly competed with old-school approaches such as pre-recording a product video, invision mockups, PowerPoint presentations, and more.
Do you think working from home is good or bad for employee experience? How is Walnut planning its office strategy in Post covid19 days?
Personally, I don’t like working from home. I think it’s boring and creates a “grey” culture. However, some people love it and that’s exactly my approach as a manager: to allow a hybrid method that makes everyone happy. Hopefully, in a year or two, the offices worldwide will be filled with people again. It creates a friendly environment and helps productivity with quick “hallway” questions, answers, and brainstorms.

About the author

Alon is a Tel Aviv-based CMO a VC Consultant and the General Manager of CXBuzz. As a veteran in the Israeli Start-Up scene, Alon supports b2b tech startups in capturing customers' sentiment and embedding customer experience in the decision making process.


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