SalesTechStar Interview with Asaf Yanai, VP Growth at yellowHEAD
Facilitating deeper interpersonal connections with prospects and clients is integral to any successful sales strategy. Asaf Yanai, VP Growth at yellowHEAD shares some tips in this QnA:
Hi Asaf, we’d love to hear about your journey in sales and marketing through the years…how are you seeing the role of the typical salesperson in this market change today (because of the pandemic and even otherwise!).
I’ve always felt like I had a good sense for business, so I studied Business Administration at The Interdisciplinary Center in Israel and later got my MBA in Marketing. While at IDC Herzliya, I began working as an online marketing expert specializing in generating leads, social media marketing, SEM, and SEO. Before coming to yellowHEAD, I spent three years at Webpals Group, first as a Business Development Team Leader and then as the Business & Marketing Optimization Group Leader.
Needless to say, a lot has changed in the online marketing space in the last ten years! One thing that’s different about today’s sales environment is that consumers are acutely aware of when they’re being sold to. They don’t like intrusive or jargon-filled ads, so salespeople need to connect on a more personal level. It’s up to the people doing the selling to facilitate that connection.
Take us through some of your biggest sales learnings from your time in tech: a few biggest moments that drove key sales learnings during the pandemic as well?
Well, those personal connections I mentioned became even more important during the pandemic, because consumers’ priorities and expectations have shifted considerably. We rely heavily on AI and machine learning to meet those expectations, whether that’s through targeted UA, comprehensive analyses, or high-quality creative. One thing I’ve learned is that technology is a vital part of the sales and marketing process, but it can’t entirely replace human expertise, so a good marketing partner should have both.
How do you feel today’s sales leaders need to revisit their sales processes and choice of salestech to empower their teams more while being remote?
Automation is playing a bigger role in the sales process, especially when it comes to outreach. I have a feeling that companies without automated processes in place had a lot of catching up to do in 2020 as everyone scrambled to adjust to working remotely. Marketing automation platforms like HubSpot can go a long way towards helping companies achieve their growth goals.
Keep in mind that corporate teams aren’t the only ones adjusting to a remote world. Although we’re mostly back in the office now in Israel, many B2B buyers and consumer audiences are remote. That means that the sales process is happening through digital channels in a more self-directed fashion. Sales and Marketing teams need to work closely together to support every stage of the funnel in a fully digital buying cycle.
Can you talk about some of the top sales solutions over the years (sales technologies) that have helped you drive better business outcomes?
One area that’s often overlooked when talking about sales and marketing tech is the creative aspect. The truth is, creative and tech don’t need to be mutually exclusive. For example, yellowHEAD’s Alison platform uses machine learning to analyze just about any ad creative element you can imagine, and then we can use that data to optimize accordingly. Data-driven creative and cutting-edge technologies are among the strongest tools marketers have at their disposal — we’ve found that it’s directly tied to campaign effectiveness and increased sales. We’ve seen direct proof of this in our partners’ campaigns. ROAS can increase by as much as 3X following creative optimization.
How will the future of customer engagement and sales engagement in a digital buying world start evolving…to change the face of customer engagements as we see it today?
I think we’ll continue to see customer engagement being more of a two-way street than the traditional advertiser-consumer relationship offers. We’re already seeing this with various personalized marketing initiatives, and it’s one of the reasons direct-to-consumer brands are so popular right now. Millennials and zoomers especially like that DTC brands have really relatable marketing and share the same values as them. It’s not just about the price tag anymore, but about the relationship and engagement.
Can you take us through the key practices and processes you follow at yellowHEAD to drive overall business growth and the technologies that support team initiatives?
Everything we do at yellowHEAD follows a value-driven marketing strategy. For example, we help our partners with everything from paid UA to SEO/ASO to ad creative, but we also offer a plethora of free resources on our blog. All of our solutions are tailored to each particular client’s needs, because a cookie-cutter approach to marketing just doesn’t work.
A few thoughts on what you feel today’s sales leaders need to do to motivate, train and uplift their teams to optimize business and sales performance, and the sales technologies you feel sales teams should have more of (implementation / better training) to drive goals (for instance, clean data in the CRM, call dialers, etc)?
Sales is all about relationships, and that starts with your team. Sales leaders should encourage innovation and collaboration because you never know who might have the next great idea. I know “think outside the box” sounds cliche, but it’s true that leaders should constantly look for new routes to success — no one should ever say “but that’s how we’ve always done it” to deter progress. Collaboration between Sales and Marketing is also increasingly important.
Technology is always changing, so what’s important is staying ahead of it. That includes hiring passionate employees and providing ongoing training when these newer solutions arise.
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yellowHEAD is pioneering a new era in through its unique blend of talent, technology, data, and creativity. Founded in 2013, the company delivers unprecedented ROI for campaigns across paid and organic channels including UA, ASO, SEO, and creative services based on Alison insights. yellowHEAD offers integrated media strategies underpinned by AI-powered analytics, revolutionary A/B testing technology, and a talented in-house creative studio. The company has a global team of more than 100 expert marketing specialists, with headquarters in Israel and offices in the US and Europe.
Asaf Yanai joined yellowHEAD as VP of Growth after more than a decade of marketing and business development experience. His previous roles include Business & Marketing Optimization Group Leader at Webpals Group, VP of Marketing at TrafficsLords by SingulariTeam, and Head of Media Buying at Crossrider Plc. An entrepreneur at heart, Asaf received a B.A. in Business Administration in 2012 and later received his MBA in Marketing from IDC Herzliya in Israel.