ZS Associates uses Anaplan to help its clients streamline sales planning

Kevin Josephson, Associate Principal, shares how ZS Associates developed multiple apps on the Anaplan platform to help clients with their sales planning processes.

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We are the world’s largest organization focused on sales and marketing solutions. We focus on analytics, operations, and technology for our clients.

When I first came across Anaplan a few years ago, we were looking at clients’ needs, and we weren’t sure if there was anything that we can build that wouldn’t be custom that would meet it. When we met with Anaplan, we immediately saw a team that was ready to understand the requirements, and within a matter of days, a prototype was put together that really helped crystallize that this is what this new process can be. So I think that’s the beauty of the Anaplan—you can prototype in days, you can build in weeks in larger implications of several months.

We have developed five apps for the Anaplan platform: an incentive comp administration app, and an app that allows organizations to understand the health of their incentive plans. We have a channel program management application, brand forecasting application, and then our fifth one—which we just released—is an account potential or sales opportunity measurement application to help you really target what accounts have what potential for your business.

If you talk to sales operations people, the end of the fiscal year is a really hectic time for them. They have incentive plans that are changing, which are going to change what the sales force is responsible for doing and what motivates them. It’s going to inform what targets need to be set for them and the business rules around their quotas. It may inform the direction of the sales force and what territories they need.

Today, all of those decisions typically are made independently. So one group is working on the sales strategy for next year and what the resource plans would be, while another team is working on the incentive plans. And then the sales ops team has to get the quotas out within two weeks at the start of the year, and are the last to hear about all of these final decisions coming in.

So what we have seen is we are really able to kind of control that chaos a little bit more, integrate the decision-making, react quicker, and therefore shrink the time to launch fiscal-year plans. Our brand is built around analytics, and we have been doing this type of advanced modeling for 30 years as a company—and seeing the platform continue to advance in those areas will allow us to do even more things on the platform going forward.

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