PhotoShelter is a web-based service that lets photographers store their images, create their photo website, deliver their work, and sell or license their photos to a variety of paying clients. The company has been around for 13 years, having invented cloud storage before Amazon.
Their enterprise service, Libris, is similar, but it’s for brands and organizations who want to store their own assets, including photos, videos, graphics, and other documents. Libris users include sports teams, universities, Fortune 500 brands, media properties, and government agencies.
Since people are in different locations and often work remotely, PhotoShelter/Libris is a way to organize all these assets in one centralized location. These brands and photographers work with different partners, vendors, sponsors, and stakeholders who all need to get this content, PhotoShelter makes the workflow easy and more effective.
We had a chance to catch up with Jacco de Bruijn, VP of Revenue, and Yoav Guttman, Demand Generation Manager, and ask them about their work with PhotoShelter and how EverString has played a role in their growth.
First, what got you interested in your career?
Jacco: I originally worked for brand and marketing strategy consultancies and learned a lot about the basics. But found it hard to give advice to companies who would not use it or use it differently. So I went to work on the client side, especially in tech startups, where it’s easy to see the impact of what you’re doing quickly. Any side of a startup business is interesting, but in sales and client services, the impact is biggest in terms of the revenue.
Yoav: My background was more on the brand side of marketing. I started my career at Shop.com on the analytics side, and as analytics has become more important in the marketing world, I continued to move more into that while I was also getting into marketing operations.
More interesting than that is why Jacco and I do what we do now.
Okay, why do you do what you do now?
Yoav: I’m glad you asked. In the tech space right now, the silos between sales, marketing, and customer service are all breaking down and moving toward a single Revenue Operations unit, and we’re seeing the beginning of that change.
Making sure your team works harder and more efficiently is going to be the big challenge for lots of organizations over the next several years. It’s not a question of silos anymore. Our experience here makes me think about, 1) who owns which aspect of the funnel? That is, on the operational side, how can we make sales tools, marketing tools, and customer service tools enrich each other? And 2) how can we build a process around those tools, as well as the people we have?
If we were a smaller company, our process would be to onboard new clients and hand them off to our sales team. What we’ve found is that we’re more effective by building a new process and training the staff on it, rather than everyone falling back on their old models.
How does EverString help with these challenges?
Yoav: Two examples come to mind. The first is the way we integrate tools like SalesForce and Marketo into our SDR (sales development representative) process. We use EverString data to make sure we’re going after companies that look good on their FIRE scores.
The second is centered around GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and the customer profile validator. We haven’t been harnessing the level of data that’s being provided, but we have used it to make sure we’re GDPR compliant. We don’t want to email anyone who might not meet the GDPR permissions, so it helps us create a suppression list for our email marketing.
What separates PhotoShelter from its competitors?
Jacco: Our focus is on visual assets. Others out there can help with any kind of file type, but our DNA is photo, video, and graphic files. We’ve invested a lot of years, money, and effort to ensure the quality of imagery remains, provide metadata capabilities for the files, and integrate with Lightroom and other creative software such as the Adobe Creative Suite.
We’ve also tried to focus on the ease of use of our service, to help people get access to their assets quickly. You don’t want to go into the system and wait for things to load.
Finally, we wanted to make sure that everything is affordable. While you could try Dropbox and Google Drive, there are fewer features which is insufficient for organizations valuing their creative workflows. Instead, we’re competing with higher end digital asset management services that can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $1 million per year. We only charge around $10,000 per year, but we offer some of the best and fastest service available.
When you were looking to improve your process, how did we get on your radar? What you were looking for?
Jacco: Two steps. One thing that differentiates us is that our initial business, PhotoShelter, started funding our new business, Libris. That meant we could make long-term decisions about our growth. It’s not just about getting signups, it’s about getting clients who are a good fit for us.
By managing our sales and customer service process, we make sure we keep clients after one year by talking to the right companies right off the bat. EverString helps us do that. If we can do reach the right customers, our sales will be much more impactful.
EverString has also helped us prioritize our leads. If you think about our business, any kind of company can use a way to effectively manage their assets, but we have to prioritize to get the best fitting customers. EverString helped us find the right people to talk with.
We literally got in touch with you after seeing your webinars and marketing efforts, and just talking with other companies. Specifically, it was another company, Namely, who mentioned they were using EverString, and that’s how we started the conversation.
Yoav: Obviously account based marketing (ABM) is a very trendy concept for good reason. So the question we had is how do we get closer toward a more strategic ABM approach. One of the ways EverString has helped the most is to improve our sales and marketing alignment. It’s helped us make sure our sales and marketing teams are focused on the same type of customers and that they’re scratching each other’s backs.
So what gets you excited about working at PhotoShelter?
Jacco: The product. If you’re on the marketing and sales side, it’s great to have a product that people get excited about. Seeing clients signing in every day, and seeing what they do with it is very exciting. A lot of photos on the news these days are running through PhotoShelter; there are always things going on and a lot of them are our clients. I like knowing we’re helping them make that happen.
Yoav: What makes me excited is helping these brands take their storytelling to the next level. Our technology allows the brands and the people of the stories come to the social media and amass a general audience in real time.
We talk about real-time workflow here, and that’s one of our main differentiators. We’re trying to make it more seamless when someone takes the photo and then shares it to their audience. That’s very exciting.
I also agree with what Jacco said. We recently did a case study on HIAS — the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society — and how our workflow helped get a few of their important photos published around the world.
My satisfaction came from being a part of that story itself, and feeling like part of the reason the worldwide audience was able to see these photos was because of us. A lot of people on the client side are those who are taking the photos and posting to social media. We may”just” be the tech powering it, but that’s exciting to us.
HIAS was recently caught up in the Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue shooting because of their important work. As a Jewish person, their work and our association resonated with me. We had featured a great organization with a great purpose, and we were proud to be associated with them. I was proud to be associated with them.
Last question: Why EverString?
Jacco: Every interaction has been positive with the product and the team. You recently launched a new feature that was made free, which we loved. It’s sometimes a struggle to work with other companies, even for something as important as renewals. But with EverString, it has all been positive. It has been pretty important in our go-to-market approach.
Yoav: EverString took what we had built with our ideal customer profile, and helped us build those filters into Salesforce and Marketo. It eliminated the manual aspect and time spent with finding those ideal customers. EverString has been great for times savings and enrichment, and it turned all of our manual processes into actionable data and campaigns.