Piloting Success from Product to Sales

Yochai Corem, CEO at Cyberint

Yochai Corem’s passion as a pilot is a good reflection on his experience in business. He started on the ground, with ideas for a business which had wings, and when the time was right, he sold the business to enter first product, marketing and ultimately sales.

As CEO of Cyberint, Yochai has a good idea of how the right sales team can take to the skies and succeed. In a recent episode of Tech Salescraft, he sat down with James Hounslow, to talk about being a founder, working in product and ultimately impressing the value of having a sales team which meets the challenges of today.


Take a Hike


Like many Israeli founders, Yochai’s path started while in the military. He wrote a regular hiking newsletter, which grew a budding audience. When he left the military, Yochai turned this idea into a tourism-related business of his own, Tiuli, founded in 2003. After almost seven years at the helm as CEO, Yochai spotted a time to make an exit.

The key to his path into product management work was having an effective network, something many Israeli founders rely on to progress professionally. It’s a system which ensures that roles are filled based on a level of trust between professionals, with a focus on characteristics over specific skills and experience.


The Makings of a CEO

Yochai was greatly shaped through his work in product management. In the right place, a product manager can have a 360-degree view, as a form of navigator. They must work with customers externally and on the internal front, they have to shape the path taken by sales and R&D. In Yochai’s view, product managers are like small CEOs, and this is step in his career made a lasting impact.

While networks were vital to helping Yochai progress professionally, he admits that there’s a degree of risk-taking required in hiring. Often, especially when breaking into totally new markets, there is no network to tap into, at least not yet. In the absence of networks, businesses need to gamble with a candidate and take what looks like a leap in the dark.


Being an Advocate

Yochai’s work ultimately led him into cybersecurity at Cyberint. He admits that being hired for the role of CEO is a once-in-a-blue-moon type of hire, suggestive of a business looking to change direction, as Cyberint was, away from services and more into a more product-oriented approach.

Yochai likes to think of new sales hires as advocates for Cyberint, every bit as much as he is. Sellers can be aces at pitching, but some candidates lack that ability to see why the product they’re offering matters to customers. One thing Yochai does during the hires process to be assured he’s found a true advocate of a salesperson is to ask candidates, as a hacker, what would they do if they attacked Cyberint? Their answers can vary, but it tells Yochai enormously about their understanding of a product, and what customers actually need.

Want to hear more about James and Yochai’s discussion?

Watch the full episode of Tech Salescraft on YouTube, or across all major podcast streaming platforms.