Ashish Vazirani, Principal, ZS Associates

Ashish Vazirani discusses how ZS Associates helps transform customer’s sales and marketing effectiveness through the implementation and deployment of Anaplan.

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I am Ashish Vazirani. I am a Principal with ZS Associates.

ZS Associates is a global professional services firm, and we work exclusively in the area of sales and marketing. We help our companies with go-to-market strategy, executing those plans, and managing their sales and marketing operations.

First and foremost, our objective is to help them develop the right customer engagement models so that they can meet their business objectives, and then to drive accelerated performance and profitable growth.

Anaplan has offered our clients and our teams the ability to develop models that match their business needs, but with a degree of flexibility and enterprise scale that really we haven’t seen in the marketplace. One of the things that we really like about Anaplan is the ability for our clients to develop models specific to their business that allow a level of collaboration across their teams, whether it’s different functions or across different geographies.

The Anaplan team has been very open with us about what the capabilities are and how we can integrate, and so that’s really the level of true partnership that we have been looking for, as opposed to just being viewed as purely for an implementation or maybe in a transactional approach.

We think about improving sales effectiveness and even marketing effectiveness; the value is being delivered from the fact that many people have looked at those functions and said it’s more art than science. And our view has always been that there is plenty of opportunity for good science to be applied. Anaplan allows us to take the science that we have developed, that has been applied to sales and marketing, and actually scale that to an organization to build the type of business models—whether they are functionally oriented—and be able to scale that. And so I think that’s really been a good marriage of our two capabilities: Anaplan from the technology side and then ZS from a domain expertise perspective.

We have developed apps for the App Hub. We have an application specifically around sales incentive administration, and we are developing other applications around sales forecasting, demand forecasting, territory sizing, and then resource allocation.

We think about the return on investment on the development of these applications as the ability to give our clients a starting point. We do not necessarily think about the applications as maybe something that we would deliver to clients or customers transactionally. I think it’s more of a way to think about a starting point to build in some of the IP—the intelligence that ZS has developed over the past 30 years—and build that into a starting point so that clients or customers can then use the benefit of that and build it into their specific business situation.

There is a really good opportunity based on the skill sets that ZS brings from our domain expertise in industries, our expertise in the sales and marketing functions, and then all of the capabilities of Anaplan. And so we found a really nice opportunity to collaborate with the Anaplan team to bring the best of those two things to our joint customers and accelerate their growth.

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