Gartner Consulting could be lurking in the background of active sales opportunities

icon-dollar-euro.jpgIn last week’s Gartner Q4 and FY08 earnings call there was a very interesting point that CEO Gene Hall made:

“… In consulting, fourth quarter results were stronger than expected and this was driven by robust demand for our contract optimization and benchmarking services. These unique services directly help our clients lower costs and their outperformance continued the positive trends from the second and third quarters. …”

This statement should make IT and telecommunications vendors sit up and take notice. Gartner’s Cost Optimization Services consultants could be working on enterprise IT purchasing projects that directly impact sales opportunities – and not always positively for any particular vendor. 

Unfortunately for vendors, the information you give to a Gartner analyst does not always flow over to their consulting colleagues. Thus, the Gartner consultant could be relying on published research notes, which only tell part of the story and have none of the nuance or most current vendor information that is inside the analyst’s head. As a consequence, uninformed consultants might be leaving vendors off a vendor bid list or short changing their capabilities.

It is important that vendor sales representatives determine when Gartner Consulting is part of an IT organization’s procurement team for a project. While the end user might mention that an analyst is advising on a project or that a particular piece of research was used, more often than not the end user won’t think to mention that Gartner Consulting has been engaged. It’s not that Gartner Consulting has instructed its clients to keep mum about their participation. Rather, because Consulting is not as sexy as the analysts, Gartner Consulting is rarely top-of-mind during conversations and just won’t be mentioned.  Sales representatives need to specifically ask about both analysts and consultants.

On the topic of AR and Sales working together, there is free Coffee Talk on Creating an AR-Sales Partnership coming up on February 18, 2009 at 12 pm PT. There was a great turnout for the first session with lots of sharing of ideas and experiences as well as questions. Join the AR community that gets together to discuss important issues of the day. Click here for more information and to register.

SageCircle Technique:

  • AR needs to do a “mini-session” for Sales that provides “just enough” information about Gartner Consulting and how to ask prospects if they have engaged Gartner Consulting
  • AR should develop a process to handle situations where Gartner Consulting is working on a procurement project (e.g., one step is to do an inquiry with the analysts to see if they have conferred with any consultants recently)
  • AR should document the sales deals (e.g., size of deal, role of GC, outcome) to use to demonstrate AR ROI

“Mini-sessions” are short training units specifically created for vendor sales organizations. They are five to fifteen minutes long and focus on a specific topic. They can slipped into the sales organization’s regular team calls or training events. The goal is build awareness in sales on an important issue, not to make sales reps experts on the analysts or AR.

Bottom Line: Knowing if Gartner Consulting is involved is an absolutely critical piece of intelligence that is important to uncover because it can mean the difference between success or failure on a sales opportunity. AR and Sales need to partner in situations where Gartner Consulting is involved to make sure the prospect understands that a Gartner consultant is not a substitute for doing appropriate inquiries with the analysts.

Question: Have you ever had a sales deal negatively impacted by Gartner Consulting?

 SageCircle has announced a SageCircle Special Webinar: Impact of the Recession on the Analysts and AR – Time for Ruthless Action. In this 90-minute webinar we will look at the last recession in comparison to this recession, the impact of this recession on the analyst ecosystem and what steps analyst relations (AR) programs need to take to ensure that their companies continue to work effectively with the IT and telecommunications analysts during this recession.

4 Responses

  1. Hi Carter
    You are touching on bigger issue…how advisors and consulting firms like TPI, GC, Compass etc are having a larger impact on the industry and increasingly overlapping with AR competencies especially for IT Services companies.

  2. How do Gartner consultants discuss open source projects that may have value but not covered by analysts?

  3. [...] What are the pluses and minuse…Joe Barkan on What are the pluses and minuse…James on Gartner Consulting could be lu…Marc Duke on What are the pluses and minuse…IdaRose Sylvester on What are the pluses and [...]

  4. Unfortunately, Gartner tends to shield consulting from AR, resulting in some engagements where consultants may contradict the official Gartner policy.

    Same thing for the IDC consultants in local geos.

    The best tactic is to flag it to the analyst who covers the space -predictably he/she should come down on the consultant to defend his/her turf….

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