For many companies, Gartner’s Magic Quadrant is like that exam you desperately want to ace, but you have a nagging feeling that the professor may have already decided your grade. While it may seem that there are many factors out of your control, there are definite steps you can take that do make a difference. Our team has been successful in navigating clients through the Gartner Magic Quadrant process and raising their standings by following a few key points:
Make contact early and often– You have to get to the starting line to be in the race. Make sure Gartner has your company on their radar far ahead of when the Magic Quadrant is due out. Request briefings with the key analysts as soon as possible, and find out who else from Gartner may be on the MQ team. Throughout the year leading up to the MQ, request regular briefings and submit inquiries with everyone on the MQ team. Look for opportunities to meet the analysts in person at events when possible. Get to know the analysts’ interests, hobbies and personalities and earn their trust. When crunch time comes along and passions are high, having these solid relationships will give you more leeway to negotiate points that can make a difference in the rankings.
Identifying the internal team– Particularly at larger companies, this can take longer than you may expect. Don’t wait until Gartner requests information for the MQ to select the team. Make sure your team can address the different aspects of the Gartner MQ, but keep the team small enough to keep the process moving forward. Throughout the year in advance of the MQ process, the team should cultivate customers so they are ready to participate and should closely track competitors to know their strengths and weaknesses. Ideally, the spokespeople should be the same people who have been doing the briefings and inquiries throughout the year.
Know the timeline– Make sure your team knows the timeline months in advance. Gartner typically only provides a few days for review and follow-up briefings during the process; team members need to be prepared for these dates and ready to respond and turn things around immediately.
Choose your battles carefully– When Gartner sends the first draft out, you may have some panic, anger, confusion and disagreement. Keep calm. Arrange a meeting with the internal team and discuss Gartner’s points, positive and negative, one by one. Select only the most significant points to raise with Gartner. Push hard on the points you feel are justified and provide evidence to your claims.
Take stock and think forward– When the final report comes out, arrange an inquiry to ask analysts what specific actions your company can take and what benchmarks would show progress toward improving your rating for the following year. Put these recommendations down in writing and make sure the team knows the goals going forward.
Then, take a deep breath, and go back to step one and repeat. Good luck!