Gartner’s Analyst Relations team holds a quarterly conference call for the analyst relations (AR) community. SageCircle occasionally will post about the call, but for this particular call there was so much information that we have a six-part series to highlight details and provide commentary. See below for links to all six posts.
On the Gartner AR call, Nancy Erskine, Gartner Ombudsman (Twitter, blog) announced an updated process for escalating vendor-analyst disagreements (click Research Issue Escalation Process For Vendors to get a PDF of the process document). It is a straightforward process with good, common sense suggestions.
In our webinar Dealing with Problem Analysts we counsel that escalation, whether with Gartner or another firm, should always be a last resort for AR. While some analysts will consider an escalation as nothing more than the normal course of business, there is always a chance that the analyst will react negatively. Damaging the relationship is even more likely if the vendor’s representatives are belligerent.
While there are some legitimate reasons why a vendor should escalate a problem, a simple difference of opinion (e.g., the placement of a dot on a Magic Quadrant) and typical analyst arrogance are not good candidates for escalation. Remember, the analyst firm management will give the benefit of the doubt to the analyst if that analyst has done her homework and has not violated the research process or code of conduct. Just because the vendor thinks it should further up and to the right on a Magic Quadrant does not mean that Gartner’s management will agree. In addition, if the vendor has been inept or tardy in its response to the analyst’s documented research requests or has not conducted regular AR outreach, then there will be little sympathy from analyst management.
If AR does decide to escalate an issue – following the process in the PDF – then the first step before contacting the analyst’s manager or the Ombudsman is to create a document with a solid argument and lots and lots of supporting information, data, and customer stories. The more proof points a vendor has on paper the greater the likelihood of success. If the vendor cannot muster the proof points or invest the time to document them, then SageCircle’s recommendation is not to go the escalation route.
- Develop relationships with your top analysts’ managers before you need to escalate a situation. For example, try to have a 1-on-1 or a cup of coffee with analyst managers at Symposium
- Develop relationships with Nancy Erskine and other members of the Ombudsman office before you need to escalate a situation
- Carefully evaluate potential escalations
- Develop a straw man of the arguments that you plan on making with supporting proof points. If you cannot develop a portfolio of proof points then you should evaluate if escalation is worth the effort
- Leave the emotions out of the calls with Gartner analysts, managers, and Ombudsman
Bottom Line: Escalation is a powerful tool, but one that should be used rarely and carefully.
Question: AR – What have been your results when escalating disagreements over the heads of analysts? Analysts – What is your reaction if a vendor escalations a disagreement?
- Prepping for Gartner Symposium
- Don’t bring your CEO to Symposium and expect to brief the analysts
- Cost optimization at Symposium will be a critical thread to follow for vendors
- Make sure to attend relevant Magic Quadrant presentations at Symposium ITxpo Marketplace Theater
- The CIO Panel is reason enough to attend the AR Forum at Symposium
- Evidence Sidebar – Gartner needs to discuss end user inquiry data points
- Gartner’s updated Vendor Research Escalation Process