It is critical for AR to thoroughly research a particular Magic Quadrant and its history. Even AR staffs that have been working with Gartner on a MQ for a long time could benefit from doing a little digging into the background of the MQ in order to separate reality from faulty memory and myth.
Talk with the analyst – Obviously, AR should be interacting with their Tier 1 analysts on a regular basis on a number of issues. In many cases being in charge of a MQ means automatic Tier 1 status for a Gartner analyst. Many of those interactions will provide valuable insights into the MQ and the analyst’s criteria for it. However, there needs to be a dedicated call on the MQ* that occurs once a quarter. Topics to be covered include:
- Changes in the analyst’s responsibility, new additions to the team, both creation and peer review
- If you are on a Magic Quadrant with more than one author, what is the current relationship between the multiple authors and how is that evolving? Will that impact your position?
- Changes in criteria, weights and assumptions
- Analyst’s vision for the market
- Whether new MQs will be created that overlap this space
- Next publication date and format
- What you have to do to move in desired direction
- What the competition is doing to leapfrog you
- Danger signs
- Strengths and weaknesses of the players on the Magic Quadrant
- Necessary proof points to meet criteria.
A tricky insight to obtain from analysts is the team dynamics. Often you have approach this issue indirectly.
During these MQ intelligence-gathering calls, do not argue with the analyst about your company, your products, position or criteria. Because these are regular quarterly calls you don’t want the analyst to feel uncomfortable when they see it on their calendar. Nor do you want the analyst to act defensively during the call. Rather use this call to gather needed information that will help you plan future interactions. After each quarterly call, you should send an e-mail to the analyst documenting what you heard. This will provide an audit trail in case there are disagreements in the future about whether or not your company should have a more favorable positioning on the next MQ.
* SageCircle Advisory clients, either Annual or Hour Blocks, can schedule an inquiry to help you prepare for your quarterly analyst calls and then analyze what you heard.
Bottom Line: It is important for AR teams to do their homework to stay on top of evolving criteria and assumptions. Assuming that you know what the important underlying criteria and assumptions are for the Magic Quadrant without talking to analysts can result in work to create proof points for your company that does not matter. Just reading the Research Notes is not sufficient, as the most important criteria are often not captured in written format. Savvy AR professionals will be in frequent contact with the analyst seeking intelligence about the market in order to anticipate changes in criteria and assumptions.
Question: Do you have regular calls with analysts in charge of relevant MQs to determine how they perceive the market is changing and how this will impact the criteria for a MQ?
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]