Here is one of the most challenging situations in analyst relations. Gartner is publishing a new Magic Quadrant for one of the markets you compete in. Your product meets the minimum criteria to participate (e.g. revenues, feature/functionality, customer references). However, you know that you will not place favorably. Think lower left corner! Do you participate in the Magic Quadrant or do you abstain?
The answer depends upon your situation.
Small Startup Scenario
If you are a small company with growing market share then being listed in the report may be a good thing regardless of your placement. Being featured in a Gartner report can provide your brand with visibility that would be difficult to achieve without a large marketing budget. Your company might be considered a “niche player” which could create obstacles for your sales process. However, most sales representatives at small companies would rather be challenged with obstacles in a deal than not be in the deal at all.
If you are a large company competing in multiple markets then the decision becomes more complicated. You are jammed if you do and jammed if you don’t.
Large Companies – If You Participate
You will face a significant sales challenge in the market having to explain your placement in the lower left quadrant to prospects. Unfortunately, most customers don’t take the time to understand Gartner’s Magic Quadrant methodology. Being in the lower left as a niche player is not necessarily a bad thing. Nonetheless, most IT leaders subscribe to the theory is that you can’t get fired for selecting a vendor in the Magic Quadrant. And they short list the vendors in the “Upper Right.”
Large Companies – If You Don’t Participate
You will have to explain why you were not included in the Magic Quadrant. In fact, you may be overlooked by some prospects who use the MQ as a starting point for vendor lists. However, some would argue that it may be easier to explain being omitted from a vendor evaluation than being placed in the Niche Vendor category.
What is your answer to the million dollar question – Is it better to be in the lower left quadrant or not placed at all?