Silos in any business process can hold your team back — whether it is a breakdown in communication between branding, marketing, and sales and simply various functions that do not work well together. Too often, these elements are treated as something separate from each other. As a result, businesses lose out on opportunities to amplify their branding, marketing, and sales efforts and support initiatives. Breaking down these silos can help maximize a brand’s results and prevent the business from missing critical opportunities. Branding, Sales, and Marketing teams have traditionally operated in silos, but now more than ever, this is not a viable strategy. It is no longer possible for these three functions to remain distinct and achieve peak performance.
A corporate veteran with close to 30 years of experience in the industry, Sivaram Kuppachi observed the troubles associated with disparate marketing strategies and set out to improve them. Sivaram laid the foundation of Zamstars to break these silos and make these growth functions work cohesively to achieve business outcomes and growth. He shared his entrepreneurial journey and the challenges with Business Upside. Here is an edited excerpt from the interview.
Business Upside [BU]: How did you get your idea or concept for ZAMSTARS?
Sivaram Kuppachi [SRK]: Many companies’ key Branding, Marketing, and Sales functions work in silos. Zamstars was founded to break these silos and deliver value in the Outcome Fee model. The idea was to identify the qualitative and quantitative measures that run across an organization’s branding, marketing, and sales and evaluate a holistic solution to benefit the business.
[BU]: What was your mission at the outset?
[SRK]: To deliver Outcomes and Charge clients on the Outcome fee model and help businesses Grow. Zamstars is a business-led, design-centric customer experience consultancy with branding, marketing, and sales enablement competencies. As of today, Zamstars has served over 300 brands across the globe, delivered more than 300K Marketing Qualified Leads to its customers, and has been instrumental in generating over US$40 million in revenue. While Design is the key to Customer Experience, factoring business acumen and developing systems in Design, communication, and sales enablement are key proponents to making a Good Brand, which is always a Great Business. Hence, we are set up as a Business-led, Design-Centric Business Consultancy firm. Our core strength is our Execution prowess in what we do. While strategizing for brands is our key work, our mission is to take this strategy to execution to drive the outcomes.
[BU]: How do you market your business, and which method has been most successful?
[SRK]: Deliver the best value to customers and show outcomes. This is the best and only marketing technique we use. We have not spent a dime on the marketing of our service. All of our 300+ customers are referrals. Zamstars’ approach to delivering branding, marketing, and sales enablement services involves comprehending a business. The company believes every business should be well-constructed enough to provide value to its employees, customers, business partners, and vendors. As a result, Zamstars focuses on creating a compelling brand experience that is cohesive, immersive, and cognizant of its stakeholders’ emotions, needs, and the environment. The firm is capable of picking up clients’ existing business communication and transforming it into distinctive assets that are emotional, informational, and instructional with a clear call to action, finally culminating into conversion-generating streamlined revenues. Branding, marketing, and sales functions have a dedicated in-house framework. Employees are trained in these frameworks while onboarding. At Zamstars, every employee interacts directly with the brand, and the frameworks help them make critical decisions.
[BU]: What is unique about your business?
[SRK]: Execution Driven Team and leveraging Technology and Human Capital to drive outcomes. Zamstars team works with brands and businesses on an Outcome-based Model wherein a portion of Zamstars’ fees is directly linked to mutually agreed business outcome metrics of the clients. The design-centric customer experience consultancy has successfully demonstrated this engagement model with B2B SaaS product clients, Technology Service companies, and clients from the Education, F&B, and Hospitality industries. At the same time, Zamstars stresses execution more than strategy. These two attributes of Zamstars have been a key differentiating factor for the firm in the industry.
[BU]: How do you generate new ideas for serving your clients?
[SRK]: Execution, focus, analysis, learning, and leveraging technology where needed.
[BU]: What do you look for in an employee?
[SRK]: Self-motivation, positive attitude, go getter, hunger for learning, focus on outcomes and efforts.
[BU]: Do you believe there is some formula or pattern to becoming a successful Businessman?
[SRK]: Focus and Persuasion. Change is the only constant.
[BU]: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
[SRK]: 100% Profitable from Day 1 till date. I never missed a single month in salary payments on time, even during Covid. I never had a salary cut or delays and 100% referral business.
[BU]: What is your future plan for expanding the business to other parts of the nation?
[SRK]: ZPOD – Accelerator for Growth. My future plan is to onboard more talent and expand to more geographies. Even though it has zero debt and is primarily employee-owned, Zamstars has registered remarkable growth since its inception. This year, having completed nine years in the industry, Zamstars has penetrated the US Market by expanding its portfolio of services to frontend development. This is a natural extension of Zamstars’ brand and brand design projects, where it develops the front end for these brand services/products. For Zamstars, its people are its greatest capital. Soon, the firm intends to continue to invest in Human Capital, thereby ensuring that the learning and growth of its associates are aligned with the Outcome model that Zamstars constructs with its customers.
[BU]: If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting in this Industry, what would it be?
[SRK]: Focus on Building Successful Business. The brand will get built automatically if the business is successful. Focus on Profitability, Cash Flow, Statutory Compliance and Customer Satisfaction.
Zamstars has developed two solutions in-house – Zamalytics and Zam S Cube. Zamalytics is an analytics tool that analyzes clients’ online campaigns across various platforms while Zam S Cube is an in-house CRM tool that helps simplify the sales function and supports cross-selling and upselling. These in-house solutions significantly augment the effectiveness of the existing portfolio of services under branding, marketing, and sales enablement. As part of its continuous learning mechanism, Zamstars leverages an entire suite of digital technologies, running from Meta to Google. The firm also deploys cutting-edge technologies like Angular, React, Ruby on Rails, PHP, AWS, and more to develop frontend and backend applications with various APIs/services integrations. Besides, Zamstars has assimilated newer learnings and built capabilities to offer services encompassing Brand Strategy to Brand Experience, Website UI and Development, Front End Application Development, Digital & Social Media Marketing, and SEO Services dovetailed with Market Research and Market Development services. Zamstars has also dived into creative immersive customer experiences using the metaverse platform.