Equipping Sales for the MQ Effect: the Magic Quadrant and Tech Vendors (Part Seven)

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant can have a powerful impact on IT vendor sales cycles – anointing some vendors as a prime candidate for a sales opportunity while denying other vendors even a chance to bid. In order to exploit positive placement on a Magic Quadrant and mitigate negative placement, vendor sales executives need to work with AR to prepare and train their sales teams on certain basics about the Magic Quadrant.


Anointing some vendors as a prime candidate for a sales opportunity while denying other vendors even a chance to bid

To a large extent the Magic Quadrant is just another form of analyst research that sales reps have to take into account when working with customers and prospects. However, the MQ does have some unique aspects that have to be addressed including:

  • Multiple MQs – A vendor can be on any number of MQs, which increases the chances that a prospect will be using wrong research
  • Out-of-date MQs – Earlier versions of a MQ can be available for a long time, which can put a vendor with an improved position at a disadvantage
  • Four boxes, four responses – How a sales responds to or uses a MQ is different depending on which box the vendor is in, which complicates training and Silver Bullets
  • IT managers who mis-use the MQ – Vendors will find that their prospects do not know how to use the MQ, which means developing techniques that diplomatically teach prospects how to apply the MQ
  • IT managers with MQs but not inquiry access to Gartner analysts – Prospects can get MQ reprints from vendor websites or sales reps without being clients of Gartner, which increases the likelihood of the prospect mis-using the MQ without giving the sales rep the option of suggesting the prospect call the Gartner analyst
  • Proliferating or changing MQs – Gartner is adding, retiring and changing MQs on a regular basis, which increases the chance that a prospect is using the wrong MQ.

Vendors covered by one or more Magic Quadrants should ensure that their AR-Sales Partnership Program* takes into account the unique characteristics of the MQ.

* Kea Company has the AR-Sales Partnership Plan Builder (a full day workshop) that helps vendors develop comprehensive plans for how AR supports Sales. Clients can use inquiry to review their AR-Sales Partnership Program plan to ensure that it appropriately takes into account the special aspects of the MQ.


Bottom Line: In general, responding to situations in which a MQ is impacting a sales cycle is not much different than responding to any other piece of analyst research. The primary difference is that, unlike much research put out by the hundreds of analyst firms, the Magic Quadrant cannot be ignored. Savvy vendors will proactively address how MQs can impact sales deals – for the good or bad – and put into place processes and resources that assist the Sales force in dealing with the influence of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.

This post is one in a series about tech vendors and their relationship with the Gartner Magic Quadrant. In addition to this series, there is a Kea Company 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.

With this series I want to build on the excellent work that Dave and Carter did at SageCircle. The MQ is relevant today and many tech vendors struggle to get their strategy right. This alone is enough to warrant further exploration of the topic.

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. It is part of a series of 7 articles on the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Other parts can be found here.

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Derk Erbé