Firing Fortune 500 Clients to Build a Better Product, with Yuval Yifrach
Ebay, Facebook, and Walmart are all dream clients for most tech companies.
And landing them as a start-up was a pretty big deal for Yuval Yifrach, CEO of Market Beyond (now called Bright Insights, after being acquired by Bright Data in late 2022).
But do you know what was an even bigger deal?
Letting go of Fortune 500 clients allowed Yuval and his team to rediscover their true north star and come back to their goal as a company.
In doing so, they’ve had major success bringing their product to market and serving clients and companies of any size.
Here’s Yuval’s story of why he stopped working with Fortune 500 companies in order to build a better product. Through it, you’ll learn just what it takes to make bold decisions for your business that lead to alignment, growth, and success.
From Startup to Star Clients
Market Beyond provides ecommerce insights to brands and manufacturers that sell online.
They do this by collating information and data to offer unique insights into their market share in the online space. Companies can learn more about their competition with specific data on prices, stock, quantities, and other availability issues.
As Yuval puts it, the “magic” lies in their technology.
Yuval and his team developed advanced machine learning and AI mechanisms that generate accurate sales numbers using publicly available data, only. And all of this data provides ecommerce retailers with highly valuable information for their sales and marketing strategies.
After striking up a relationship with Ebay representatives at local events, Yuval and his team started some formal meetings with them, eventually landing Ebay as their second client ever.
Ebay’s a big player. And their successful six-figure contract allowed Market Beyond to secure first-round funding and showcase their product to some of the biggest companies around the world.
Soon after, Market Beyond secured contracts with heavy hitters like Facebook (specifically, their Marketplace), Procter & Gamble, Walmart, and Best Buy.
What’s even more impressive than landing these clients is how Yuval’s team did it. The majority of these clients were through outbound marketing strategies—cold calls, emails, and phone calls. This progressed to face-to-face conversations where they were able to close.
Yuval’s biggest tip here is to lead with value. Even in the outreach, Market Beyond ensured they were offering real value by providing information about the market.
This, plus highly targeted and accurate messaging, opened doors to the biggest businesses in the world. These high-value contracts allowed Market Beyond to grow rapidly.
Lessons Learned from Fortune 500 Clients
Yuval and his co-founders have experience working with Fortune 500, high-profile clients in the past. So, he knew that they tend to have high demands and want very specific solutions to their needs.
But they’ve also got the money to back it up. They’re often slow to close a contract but can pay very well once you provide them with what they need.
One key lesson Yuval learned from working with these clients is that you need to find a champion who will promote you internally.
These are big companies. You may be in touch with multiple people across multiple departments with multiple demands. So the best way to get buy-in at the company is by finding someone who loves and champions your product so that they will make the transition smooth and fruitful.
The other major lesson Yuval learned from working with these companies is that their unique demands can take up all of your time. Yuval soon realized that they were working 100% on the needs of their customers, rather than investing in their product and company roadmap and vision.
Instead of creating one product for everyone, they were operating like a services company, highly tailoring their work to serve each giant.
Aligning With Your North Star
Yuval and his team knew something had to change when they realized how many resources they were devoting to these big customers.
Instead of focusing on their true north star, they were providing customized services to a handful of companies.
So, it was time to re-align with the original vision of their company: to create an off-the-shelf SaaS product that ecommerce of any size and industry can use.
But to get there, Yuval and his team could not keep individually serving each of these large companies. To free up space to re-align with their original vision, they had to ‘fire’ those clients.
And how do you ‘fire’ Facebook?
Luckily, Yuval, his cofounders, and the board were all in alignment on this decision. They could see the data that showed how many hours were invested in these clients over development and their roadmap.
They were also able to keep coming back to that key question all businesses need to ask: is this really guiding us toward the north star we have for the company? The answer was no, so Market Beyond made some radical changes and pivoted in a direction that was more aligned.
How to Be Bold and Pivot Your Business
While Yuval and his team were in agreement that letting go of the Fortune 500 companies was a good idea, it was not an easy thing to do.
Making bold decisions is something every leader has to do. Here’s some advice Yuval has for people in a similar situation to his:
- Constantly check in with your north star and evaluate if you’re more aligned with it or not.
- Use data to back up your case to pivot and change directions.
- Surround yourself with wise and experienced people who can help you evaluate if you’re aligned with your vision or not.
- Trust your gut and trust your ability to pivot towards something greater.
- Ensure you have a strong financial cushion to make bold or risky decisions.
After dropping their big clients, Yuval and his team took time to regroup and go back to the drawing board. They focused heavily on product-market fit and within a short time, saw their sales skyrocket.
Getting clear on their vision and being bold enough to say “no” to big clients allowed Market Beyond to reach new levels of success.
If you’re interested in hearing more from Yuval about this amazing story, check out his full interview with us.
And, if you want to learn more insights from founders like Yuval, keep up with Hetz Ventures’s Founder2Founder series by following us on LinkedIn and subscribing to our YouTube channel.