Common Mistakes: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 2]

For a variety of reasons, communications and IT vendor AR and executives make a number of mistakes concerning the Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) and how their companies should react to it. Decision makers at IT vendors need to take a step back and carefully consider the appropriate level of effort to put into “moving the dot.”

The first mistake is proceeding without understanding how your prospects and customers/clients value and use the MQ. You should be surveying your customer/clients and prospects about which research firms and reports they use.

The second mistake is assuming that you know what the underlying market-specific criteria and assumptions are for the MQ without talking to the appropriate analysts. Repositioning your “dot” on a Magic Quadrant doesn’t happen just because you have a great product or service. Often the most important criteria are not captured in written format and do not focus on features/functions. In order to proceed, it is important that the vendor talk to analysts to find out all the criteria and proof points needed to meet those criteria.

The third mistake made is to let the tail wag the dog. While the Magic Quadrant is a key research deliverable, you can best impact your position by developing and maintaining a solid relationship with the analysts and providing the the education they need to fully understand your company and your products and services.

While these three mistakes are very important, there are other mistakes that AR teams need to watch out for:

  1. Waiting for the analyst to contact you
  2. Not staying on top of evolving criteria and assumptions
  3. Not staying on top of changing publishing schedules
  4. Not understanding the importance of a change in analyst ownership of a Magic Quadrant
  5. Not trying to change the criteria and assumptions used to create the Magic Quadrant
  6. Not treating each Magic Quadrant as a separate entity if the vendor is on multiple, related Magic Quadrants
  7. Not countering competitors’ efforts at influencing criteria or positioning
  8. Bashing the analyst, Gartner or Magic Quadrant
  9. Going to the analysts’ manager or Gartner execs
  10. Going to Gartner’s Vendor Relations department
  11. Going on “autopilot” when dealing with the analyst

* Are you having trouble convincing your executives about the typical mistakes that vendors make? SageCircle’s Executive Briefing on the Magic Quadrant can be a valuable tool in your education campaign about the appropriate approach to take with the MQ. For SageCircle Annual Advisory clients this and other Executive Briefings are standard deliverables that can be used any number of times. In addition, Advisory clients – whether Annual or Blocks of Hours – can request a critique of their MQ plans to ensure the appropriate effort to carryout realistic goals.

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR managers need to take zero-based evaluation of their MQ plans to ensure that they are realistic
  • AR managers need to be watchful that their programs are not falling into one of the common mistakes about the MQ
  • AR teams need to educate their executives about the common mistakes and steps to avoid them

 Bottom Line: There are a number of mistakes concerning the MQ that AR teams need to be concerned about, not all of which are listed in this post. AR managers need to take a balanced approach to the MQ, neither giving it more attention than it deserves nor providing insufficient resources to “moving the dot.”

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.

  1. Don’t Obsess, Don’t Ignore: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 1]
  2. Common Mistakes: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 2]
  3. Homework – Gather Background Information: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 3]
  4. Homework – Talk to the Analyst: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 4]
  5. Moving the Dot: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 5]
  6. The Danger is Complacency: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 6]
  7. Equipping Sales for the MQ Effect: the Magic Quadrant & Tech Vendors [part 7]

Question: Are your executives too much on either extreme of the obsess-and-ignore spectrum? Have you attempted to move them to the center?