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Success Story Podcast

How to Build the Best Product (and Bootstrap Your Company) with Yoni Tserruya, CEO of Lusha

By June 9, 2021March 5th, 2022No Comments

About The Guest

Yoni Tserruya, is the Co-founder and CEO for Lusha. Yoni first developed Lusha as a side-project, during his first job as an iOS developer. After one year, his pet project exploded, and he decided to turn his passion into his profession.

Today, Yoni helps create the vision and strategy that informs all product and business decisions at Lusha. He focuses on hiring the right team and anticipating the future needs of customers and envisioning the future of the data world. A software engineer by trade, Yoni graduated with a BSC from Ben Gurion University.

Talking Points

  • 08:11 — What is product led growth, and how did Yoni use it to scale Lusha?
  • 12:01 — How to successfully bootstrap a company.
  • 16:17 — Why quality really matters for your product.
  • 20:17 — Why salespeople aren’t selling (and how to stop all the admin work).
  • 25:47 — How to learn on the fly, implement changes and grow with your company.

Show Links

Show Sponsor


Promo Details: (3 months free payroll / platform services)

Gusto’s people platform helps businesses like yours onboard, pay, insure, and support your hardworking team. Payroll, benefits, and more.

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What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their story to help pass those lessons onto others through both experiences and tactical strategy for business professionals, entrepreneurs and everyone in between.

Read The Transcript (Machine Generated)

Scott: [00:00:00] Welcome back to another episode of the success story podcast. Today, I have the founder of Lusha, Yoni Tserruya? Yeah, he is a serial entrepreneur and he has built Lusha from the ground up originally bootstrapped and now venture backed. Lusha is probably one of the most disruptive technologies in terms of business to business sales.

What does it do? It helps you find the contact information of literally anybody. So if you have a name. On the internet, you can find their phone number and their email address. Obviously you can see how powerful that could be for salespeople. It has won numerous awards. It is one of the fastest growing software as of 2020.

And it’s also received the top 100. Best software companies by the very notable G2 Yoni just raised around a funding, but he did build this from the ground up. And we’re going to speak about how he focuses on product led growth and what that means, why it matters to focus on building the best possible product you can.

And that’s how you win the market. We’re also very fortunate to be sponsored again today by Gusto. Gusto is your one. Stop shop for all payroll solutions for small business owners, large business owners or entrepreneurs. So if you want to get rid of some of the headache of the day to day, perhaps admin items that you just don’t want to deal with as a business owner, definitely stick around till around halfway in this show.

And Gusto has a special offer for you that further ado. Another episode of the success

here, too. All right. I think we’re recording. I think we’re all good. All right. Thanks again for joining me today. I am sitting down with Yoni. the CEO and co-founder of Lusha. Yoni has an incredible career coming from at T and T. She’s worked in teleco as a developer. He was the founder of yaps. And now of course, a serial entrepreneur growing and scaling Lusha is very successfully.

What is Lusha? Well, I’m going to let Yoni speak to it, but a couple notable points. It was named the top 100 G2 best software company. So it was rated by G2 is also rated one of the fastest growing. Products in 2020 it’s all focused on B2B customer insights and data points. But then, you know, you only use the Janese experts, so I’m going to let them go into it.

But Yoni, thank you for sitting down. I’m excited to, you know, I’ve, I’ve used it. I’ve I’ve tried it with my own team. I apparently was pronouncing it incorrectly for the, every time I trained anybody on it, but that’s okay. So you know, I know the product and I’m excited to sit down with you and, you know, unpack your journey and figure out what you’re trying to do and how you’ve done it successfully with Lusha.

So thanks to you.

Yoni: [00:02:44] Great. So thanks for having me and thanks for the warm wards. Yeah, so I can talk about first about Lusha and what are we doing? And then, then we can discuss, you know, but the journey. So Lusha is a crowdsource B2B data company. We chilled salespeople and marketing people find their next customer.

We do it by providing them accurate business data and insight about technologies and the buyers. So they can easily identify and connect with their ideal profile. And I will go. And the main advantage of Lusha is, is to build the largest salespeople community in the world so that the more salespeople are using the product, the better the data become because the sales people help us to validate the data and provide the best B2B data quality in the world to help company growing.


Scott: [00:03:33] So it’s a, it’s a good product. I’ve used it myself. And I actually, that’s why I was so excited when I think somebody entertained, reached shut on like, oh yes. You know, it’s, it’s, I speak to founders all day. But when you speak to a founder of a product you’ve actually used it’s even more exciting because you actually know how it works and, and how well it works.

But let’s, let’s break down your journey first. So we can understand where you came from, how you got to where you are today, and then also most, most curiously for me. Why you decided to build another B to B data sales and marketing product. And probably one of the I’m sure it’s like one of the most competitive industries, oversaturated industries, and everyone is trying to do similar things in the same space.

So, anyways, go ahead. Tell me, tell me your story. Where did you come from?

Yoni: [00:04:16] Yeah. So first I know I’m 36 years old, have three liters kid. I graduated as software engineer in 2011. And the very first years of my career was building mobile applications. Which are mainly focused on user experience, sleek UI mainly B to C world.

And as, as an, as a side effect that also learned about data and how to, you know cleaning up data and, and just lay with the date of work, but nothing with it. From, it was related to B2B in general. And in 2016, I met my Assaf, which is my co-founder Lusha. And when I met him, he honestly only wanted data from me.

He just looked for someone who can, you can buy there from, and then someone introduce us, but I met him and I didn’t want to sell anything. I met him. And then he told me, you know, you can, you can build this an extension over the web through to provide business contact details. And. And each one of us, you know went to his home and, and, and after two weeks I spoke with him again and told him, Hey, you know what, I didn’t stop thinking about this idea.

And he said, you know what? I didn’t stop thinking about it as well. And then we said, okay, so let’s do it together. Because I knew, I mean, a lot. An experience of how to build technology and product, but I didn’t know, the B2B at all, and he’s experienced was exactly from the B2B and business area.

So the way we started to work together was, was beautiful because we just complete each other very, very quickly. And, and for the question, I mean, why did we decided to go to this industry? Everything happened bottom up. We didn’t. You know thought about it that we will get to where we are today.

We just saw a problem back then in 2016, and we thought that we can provide a really simple and easy solution to the market. And so we just started to develop it and, and the first. Version we develop it. I think in, in two months we released it to the world and, and everything was so slow. You know, searches.

There’s going to be, those took like eight seconds, sometimes 100 seconds. It never ends, but we just released it to see what’s going on. And we released it mainly to recruiters at the beginning. I stopped background was from the recruiting and headhunting war. So we knew that they need that. And that’s what the main target audience, but very quickly sales people under you know encountered with the product.

And so the benefit of it for their needs and started to use it as well. And so everything was just growing bottom up organically since then. Today, our main focus is only sales, mainly sales and marketing recruiting. We’re serving them as well, but it’s not the the main roadmap of our product currently.

And, and the beautiful part is that, you know, in, in w w Lusha is five years old and, and I think the first four and a half years, we needed this bootstrap company And, and everything, you know, it just built organically bottom up because we listened to the customers and just sold what they need.

Scott: [00:07:16] And then this is going to this is going to dovetail very nicely into, you know, we were chatting before we started hitting, you know, before I hit record. And we were like, where do you want to take this podcast? And you said a lot about, let’s try to have a product led growth. And, and what does that mean and why does that allow you to be successful?

And it’s an interesting point. And I think that. Going into this market because there are a lot of solutions that do similar, if you try and compete. Yeah. With these fully developed products day one, especially if you’re bootstrapped, you’re probably going to, you’re probably not going to do so well. Right.

So you have to, you have to grow with, you know, multiple iterations. So describe to me through, through Lusha, like what, what is product led growth? What does that mean? And how did, how did Lusha sort of adopt that strategy? And also. Why, why did you know that that was a strategy that you should take?

Well, how did you know

Yoni: [00:08:11] that the beautiful part is that we didn’t know at the beginning?

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, as you understood, my, my background was B2C product. So when we thought about building the product that my intuition was okay, so let’s build something simple, which anyone can start using footprint. And if you want to bike and upgrade premium, because this is what I know from a new, from mobile work.

I didn’t know that it is so so rare in the B2B world back then after several years when we w you know, after three years, I think we, we, we, we, we learned that there is a. There is a name for that, which means product that grows. And we suddenly did that without even thinking. But I think th th the benefits of product life versus exactly what we started, we just didn’t know how to say that.

And, and, and the idea is that when you, I mean, if you’re not doing product led your classic B2B company, it means that once a visitor goes to a marketing website, And he reads the, you know, the value proposition. Let’s say he understand that because in a lot of cases you just don’t understand and then you want to use it.

What you see is that you have a form, which you need to fill up the form and then schedule a demo. And today and I, as a consumer, but I think 75% of the people today doesn’t want to talk to a sales rep before they know the product. They want to talk to someone after they know the product. And when they have questions, So the idea of product led grows is that just open the file up.

Let the user try before he buy it, let him even buy, but only if he needed scale and only if he need or have any question, he will go through the sales team. And so what, what, what the product is doing is that the product is out there. Anyone can use it, you go to marketing website, you can sign up for free.

You can start using it for free. You can even buy it self service. You don’t need to talk to anyone. And if you need to talk, you can do that. And I think at the beginning, a lot of salespeople, even those we hire here in Lusha The, you know, th they, they, they don’t use to, they use to talk to everyone.

They want to, they want to manage the sales cycle. And, and, and the idea is that when you, when the sales team managers sales cycle, you might bring bigger deals at the beginning, but you’re not bringing on your it’s very hard to. Create a big brand awareness without many marketing resources, because the funnel is, is, is closed by a rep and you need, we need a lot of reps to talk to a lot of people to tell them the value.

And when you do product lead, you actually put the product out there. Anyone can use it, you create brand awareness by the product. I mean, if the product is good, it just works for you. And when the sales people just talk to two people. They are actually talking to users. They are not talking to prospects, which means it doesn’t need to explain the value proposition.

The user already know the value proposition. He know the product, you know, the service, the conversation is much further than that. It’s about how much it costs or maybe I didn’t understand some feature, but the job of the sales rep is to connect the dots. And just go through the sales conversation to the negotiation area, that’s weekly then talking about buyer proposition.

So, so product led growth company actually sells more and grow much faster than then classic B2B companies. The beginning of the journey might be different, but in the long run, PLG just grow faster, create better user experience as well.

Scott: [00:11:48] And you had, you were bootstrapped up until I think you’ve raised money.

I saw you raised you raised 40 million early February and graduations on that. Was that the first round was that you, that you ever raised? Yeah.

Yoni: [00:12:01] Yeah, it was the first round up until then we are completely bootstrap. We reached to almost 1500, 15,000 costumers totally bootstrap. And, and the reason we succeeded to do that was exactly because we did it product led.

So a lot of our costumers. Are completely self-served and those who need scale or want a bigger solution, we sell them be our sales team, but the sales team to speak to those who want to buy journals, you know, definitely called people.

Scott: [00:12:31] And when you’re doing product led growth, You’re focusing, obviously focusing on the product, but also you must have some sort of inbound or demand gen.

And if you’re bootstrapped, I guess somebody who’s listening to this and they’d wonder like, okay, so it’s a little bit scary for me to not depend on salespeople. Where do I invest my limited resources so that people even know I exist. And where did you do.

Yoni: [00:12:55] So, I mean, what we did at the beginning, we just try to publish the, there is a service called Lusha in, you know, in the Facebook recruiters, groups and LinkedIn recruiters groups in, in some websites that cover recruiters.

And, and we did it for like a week or two. We also brought like several influencers in the recruiting area. But to mainly that’s it after the very first you know, push that we need to, the product, everything else happened organically because the product didn’t deliver and the value was good for the people and the data was good.

And so people start, you know, tell you the about to tell about it to other people. And they were gunning the word of mouth, just word. And, and we had, when we had natural natural growth rate But actually most of the product that grows company, if you have a good product and you invest most of the resources in a good product, this is what what’s happened.

You have, you have the word of mouth. You have natural and organic growth even without a marketing spent. Now marketing span can definitely accelerate that. But it’s not that we doubted you and not growing. You can still grow because the product is your marketing. The freemium is your market.

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And that will give you three months free to try it out for yourself. Play around with it. See if it works for your business. I’m almost positive. It will. All right, let’s get back.

And a follow-up on that in, was there, was there any, it sounds like you, you know, I think you’re going to answer this question saying like, no, we actually, we didn’t have a ton of issues, but it sounds well in this particular space, it seems like there’s a lot of competition. So how did you do it? The way you differentiated was just having an incredible product.

That was, that was really how you did it.

Yoni: [00:16:17] I, I think, I think two things differentiate Lusha for the market. Firstly, the data is the data quality at the end of the day, till about the data and we succeeded to provide very good results at the beginning of the journey. So the data was good better than the better, better than most of the competitors back then.

And the second thing is how we sell it. So today, even if two companies are selling the exact same thing, but one company does it much more easily with no friction, we still have service experience. We can just, and this is the PLG. This is exactly what we did then, then it’s going to succeed faster.

And because how we tell it was much more simpler. So, yeah, I think, I think the data quality in the way of selling it, that we are, we, we, we sold to the end user to there, to the AEA or to the SDR the sitting in the company. And you don’t need to create a big deal with the procurement with $25,000 annual contract.

So anyone can just download and start using it. So there is so people just started.

Scott: [00:17:21] Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. And then now you’ve raised, you’ve raised some money, so. What is, what is your vision for the company? Where do you want to take it next? Because now you actually have some capital funding you, so what are, what are next steps for Lusha?

Yoni: [00:17:33] Yeah. So the capital is basically accelerating everything we are doing starting from headcount. And we now do have marketing budget that we are where we’re increasing because of the fund. But the main the vision is to build the largest community of salespeople in the world, because we believe that the sales industry needs to be much more data-driven.

And, and, and be more focused about the people that want to buy when they want to buy and just make sure that the people are spending more time selling. So instead of trying to, you know, spray and pray to everyone with cold calling or whatever, I don’t approach, a lot of companies are doing today. We want to provide them really accurate data.

So they want spend time on just, you know, Those who doesn’t want to buy and try to provide the best intent and timing to do that. Both for sales and, but also in the future for customer success as well, because I think

Scott: [00:18:32] no it’s, it’s very smart. And then I guess just to follow up, cause you’re in the industry.

What are, what are the trends that you’re seeing, like the best practices in sales that if somebody is listening and they’re perhaps in a more legacy organization, or they’re not sort of, you know, up to the times with with what works, what do you recommend people start to do as a sales rep or as a sales leader?

Yoni: [00:18:57] I think what do we see as trend is that more and more companies are not trying to. Necessarily talk to as many people as possible. Like I said, it’s a spray and pray. It’s it’s more going to be to, to super prospecting. To be very, very accurate about who you want to spend the time on. And, and this is exactly also what, what you’re doing in, in ABM, but you just want to know who you want to run up there and then work there and get deeper in the organization.

So you need to know who you want to reach out and, and they’ll just spend time with a lot of customers. So we see, we see that we see the trend in sales teams going to that direction. And this is what we enable and trying to, to provide even better at data points to do that.

Scott: [00:19:43] And one thing, one thing that you, you did touch on, and I just want to sort of reinforce while we’re on the topic, you mentioned about getting people to.

Spend more time actually selling, like I’m sure, you know, even the fact that you installed you, you created this initial iteration of the product as a Chrome extension so that people aren’t navigating to a web app or some other other application and taking them away from the prospect. And it’s meant to be like seamless with their workflow.

Speak to speak to the issues that sales reps have. Cause I know you see them with spending too much time on non sales activities and how this solves for that.

Yoni: [00:20:17] Yeah, I think salespeople, they spend a lot of time on admin, more and identifying who they need to talk to next and, you know, understanding the trends in the company.

So the conversation would be more sleek and they will know what to discuss about. And, and honestly what’s happened and this data is according to Salespeople are actually selling 30 to 33% of their day. So the rest is about admin and prioritizing and, and aggregating data. So if you provide them high, higher quality of data or you help them prioritize the leads based on.

You know, some criteria like industry number of employees or technologies and stuff like that. They can spend more time selling because you actually help them with automation and data to, to prioritize the work. So, so I think I think that the industry is going that direction, how to optimize.

And the optimization is based on data, like, like in a lot of other areas in the world today.

Scott: [00:21:21] And then the last, the last question then I sort of have some rapid fire just based on, on your career. Say I’m a sales leader and, and you’re trying to sell me on Lusha. Obviously the, the magic is in the data and how accurate it is.

Like you said, that’s important from the start. So how does Lusha, or how would any company probably, you know, you have, you have experience because you’re the CEO of Lusha. I would Lusha guaranteed that their data, it would be better than other companies without disclosing trade secrets or proprietary IP.

What, what is it that you do differently?

Yoni: [00:21:56] So there are there two answers for that? First we are not guaranteed anything. We, we, we, we want the customers to try before they buy. So we just tell her, okay, so give it a shot. Just try it. You want the extra credit? You want to try it? Okay. We will give you a trial.

We want you to be happy with what, with the results and so that you will want to buy it. We are not trying to push anyone to a deal that he doesn’t want to because I don’t believe in that, especially not in SAS, in SAS, you need to use it. It needs to want to continue and pay for what he’s getting.

So that’s that about? I mean, how we sell it, we just want to. I want to let you try first above the data, I think we’re doing what any other company is doing. I mean, we, we have multiple data sources and, and the main thing is how to merge and identify the right data points. According to the others. I think the main differentiation of Lusha is about the community and the size of the community, and the fact that we have a lot of end casts and end users help us to build.

A very big community and the more people are using the platform, the better the data become because. W we learned the system, which data is accurate in which node and the users can provide us feedback about the accuracy of the data. So the data become much more accurate. And that’s the main challenge of this industry because people are switching jobs.

Approximately every two years. So even if you have a very good data today in a year from now, third of it’s going to be outdated. So the challenge is how do you make sure that you are accurate as much as possible to the reality to the reward and the fact that we have a lot of people in the community, just help us do that faster and provide more accurate data.

Scott: [00:23:43] No. That’s a, it’s an interesting point too, that I, you know, I’ve never thought about that, but that’s a, especially like with, with COVID with even, even, even with just, you know, general attitude towards staying in one job for a period of time, everyone wants to shift. Everybody’s always shifting for better, for worse.

And that provides a huge challenge for, for a company like yours. So that makes a lot of sense. And I actually didn’t realize that that community component was so important. For, for verifying and validating that data, but that it makes it, that makes a lot of sense. Right. You’re just getting your users to keep reinforcing.

What’s good. And what’s not. And then I guess like last question I would have for you just about Lusha. A lot of the focus is on LinkedIn. Speak to me about some, because I’m out, you’re not like you’re preaching to the choir I already bought into using LinkedIn, but coming from you and what you see, what are the benefits of using LinkedIn versus just calling or just email?

Yoni: [00:24:36] You know, I think, I think LinkedIn today is is the online CV. So, and, and you have more data points that are you know, exclusive for LinkedIn that you can, you can just learn about the profile. And so what do we see from salespeople is just, is that they’re trying to know who are going to call too.

And what about what’s happened with this company so that they will make sure that they’re they’re, you know, they are. And talking about the right things and the right time and not reaching out to companies in bedtime and gore or people who just, you know, I know the people they want to talk to. So LinkedIn have a lot of layers that can help you do that.

Then that’s why they have salespeople are there. And, but there are other solutions as well that you can get more intense data about people even without LinkedIn. And these kind of things that we are billing as well. So in general, you need to have as much as information as possible before you pick up the phone.

And LinkedIn is another great source to do that.

Scott: [00:25:36] Very good. So before we you know, finished with some like rapid fire questions, was there anything that you were working on with Lusha that you want to chat about or anything that we didn’t go into?

Yoni: [00:25:47] Yeah. I mean you know, I, I think something that It’s part of my, my learnings in, in building the company, which might be interesting is that I think, which I love, which people doesn’t really understand is that building a company typically, if it works, even if it’s not, it’s, it’s a learning journey.

Because if, even if you’re not succeeding and if something doesn’t work well, then you need to learn and you need to start identify what doesn’t work there and, and just identify and take the company out of this you know, disposition. But. If you are succeeding. And if you’re growing really, really fast, it’s still the same.

Because every three to six months, the company looks totally different. And as a founder and as a leader in any department, your job is changing very quickly and you need to adopt new skills and learn new stuff. And if you don’t do that, you just stay on the same, same spot. And so, you know, it’s growing.

So. I think that the mindset of learning is, is something that I was trying to, to, to encourage people to be in this state of mind, not being right, but being committed to learning. And, and yeah, and I think, I think that’s, that’s really good advice for the live, but specifically for building a company in the business world,

Scott: [00:27:00] Good advice.

Okay. What is one myth about entrepreneurship that you would like to debunk? Something that isn’t true?

Yoni: [00:27:09] Wow.

Scott: [00:27:09] So there’s a lot that you’ve encountered in your career, but

Yoni: [00:27:13] I think every entrepreneur thinks in a lot of times that. You know, yeah. In my company it’s different in here, it’s special.

And in my case, it it’s like that. And everyone, these use cases is special. And honestly and also I said a lot and along the way, you, and do you understand that you’re probably not that special and a lot of other companies did something very similar to that. And when something doesn’t work for you, it’s not because you are special.

It’s usually because you doesn’t have a vision. Or you doesn’t have a leadership there. And so what you need to do is, is take your hands being some, do some hands-on work and build up the vision. So once you know that vision, you can delegate and then it works. So I think you just so you can learn from other companies and just solve your own problems.

Scott: [00:28:04] Very good advice. What are some resources? It could be it could be a podcast you like

And, and it’s a great book. It’s by Jim death. Detmer. It’s a great book. I think I learned a lot from that and it really shaped the way they were trying to manage and run the pitch.

Scott: [00:29:06] Good. That’s actually one that’s never been recommended before. So that’s like I have a shelf behind me with a whole bunch of books.

I have to go check that out. Because I’ve never had, I never heard about that one before, but that’s good. Thank you. Okay. Let’s see. What else did I want to go into? Oh, and then one question that I ask everybody. What does true success mean for you in work or personal life?

Yoni: [00:29:29] Oh, beautiful. A question.

You know, to a success It is actually doing, I like to build stuff, but the true success, in my opinion is just do what you love to do. And for me do what I love to do means also work with the people I love to work. And I always try to work with people that. No provide and give me energy and that’s taking energy out of me.

So it’s people that I can spend, you know, full day with them without even noticing. So when you have the, the, the, the weekly meeting on schedule, you just, you have to, because you love to spend time with this person. So I think. One of the beautiful part is building a company is that you can choose the people that you really enjoy spend time with.

And so you can both work and have fun. And, and I think if you have that, then you can be that team, just wake up and enjoy what you’re doing. And that’s the beautiful part of success might be.

Scott: [00:30:25] I love that. That’s a really good answer. And then the most important question where do people connect with you?

Where can people go check out Lusha your social media, yours, or the companies.

Yoni: [00:30:35] So first thing, Dean, I mean, anyone can reach out on LinkedIn and like, and my contact details are also available and Lusha and my email and everything. So I answer to anyone, try to and I would love to connect with anyone who.



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