There is a certain amount of self congratulations that occur when a vendor achieves a favorable “Leader” position on a Magic Quadrant. Because they are in the “Leaders” block, vendors feel like their job is complete. The problem is that such an attitude could lead to complacency and endanger a company’s coveted status in the future. Vendors in this situation could receive a nasty surprise as competitors leapfrog them or as they slip into the Challengers or Visionaries blocks.
This is not only a problem with “Leaders” since vendors in the “Challengers” and “Visionaries” blocks also feel that they can rest on their laurels. Most surprising are “Niche” vendors who are happy merely to be mentioned on a Magic Quadrant. The messages in this post are directed to Leaders, but also apply to all vendors, no matter what their position on the MQ.
What is the Danger? SageCircle had one client go from the best Leaders position in a Magic Quadrant only to slide to the Challengers block in the next version. Why? The vendor had become complacent about briefing the analyst and missed that the “bar” for inclusion in the Leaders block was being raised. They had what it took to continue being a leader, but had failed to communicate that to the analyst. So what happed was:
- They didn’t stay on top of evolving criteria and assumptions
- They didn’t continue to improve the appropriate level of communications with the analyst
- Their approach to the analyst and the information used became stale
- They didn’t understand the implications of changing analyst coverage
- They didn’t counter their competitors’ attempts to influence the analyst
Do a Zero-based Rethink about your Magic Quadrant Influence Efforts — We recommend that clients ask themselves tough questions* about their current MQ approach and answer them honestly. The more questions you answer in the negative the more likely you will wake up to a nasty surprise the next time the Magic Quadrant is updated. Use the insights from the MQ approach evaluation to change your MQ plan if necessary.
* SageCircle Advisory clients, either Annual or Hour Blocks, can get a copy of the 15-point Magic Quadrant Influence Checklist to save themselves the time to generate the evaluation questions. In addition, SageCircle Strategists can guide you through a MQ plan review and make suggestions about how to improve their MQ influence efforts.
Bottom Line: The primary problem for vendors in the “Leaders” block on one of Gartner’s Magic Quadrants is complacency about their position. Savvy vendors combat this complacency by never being satisfied with their current position and supporting commentary. This attitude leads these vendors to constantly evaluate their approach and work to improve their plans and execution.
This post is one in a series on the SageCircle blog about how communications and IT vendors and their relationship with the Gartner Magic Quadrant. In addition to this series, there is a “Consumers Guide” to the Magic Quadrant that helps research consumers – whether enterprise IT managers or vendors – make appropriate use of this most famous and misused research deliverable. For those AR managers needing much more depth than what is appropriate please check out the SageCircle AR Wiki where you can find a lengthy thread of articles that provide more depth and breadth on this critical topic in the IT industry including checklists.
- Don’t Obsess, Don’t Ignore: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 1]
- Common Mistakes: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 2]
- Homework – Gather Background Information: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 3]
- Homework – Talk to the Analyst: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 4]
- Moving the Dot: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 5]
- The Danger is Complacency: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 6]
- Equipping Sales for the MQ Effect: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 7]