As you monitor your competitors, you may occasionally see them tout a new spot in a recent Gartner Magic Quadrant or land in a Forrester Wave report.
These reports typically assign ratings to companies within a certain group of technology products and services. Gartner, Forrester and other analyst research firms use these tools to help enterprises evaluate technology investments and make buying decisions. To gain access to proprietary studies or engage with analysts for feedback on their technology capabilities and roadmaps, the enterprises will also retain the research firms. These subscriptions can run tens of thousands of dollars (which can be a hefty price tag for new entrants starting out), but don’t let it deter you from making analysts aware of your technology for future scorecards.
An agency that’s experienced in analyst relations can help you navigate the nuances of analyst briefings and their resulting feedback with minimal financial investment; however, the process does require investing time to build your mindshare. Inclusion in a Forrester Wave or Gartner Magic Quadrant adds unbiased support from a neutral third party, which can support marketing efforts to highlight your differentiators, grow awareness and close new customers.
What are the prerequisites?
Since Gartner and Forrester serve large companies and enterprises, they often have baseline criteria before including firms in Magic Quadrants or Waves. Industry players typically will need a minimum number of enterprise customers, revenue, locations, as well as operating system or size requirements, depending on the technology evaluated. Analyst firms will post these criteria in advance, so any applicable technologies are carefully sorted and accurately covered.
What lead time does the research require?
Both Forrester Wave and Gartner Magic Quadrant reports start as invitation-only, and these are extended based on a mix of the reports’ predetermined criteria, as well as established reputations of companies. To be top-of-mind with analysts for consideration in these reports, introductions must begin well before you decide to pursue next month’s Wave or Magic Quadrant. Report categories are typically refreshed and updated every 12 to 18 months. Start by introducing analysts to your company with a phone call or in-person meeting to provide them with an overview of your technology, executive team, differentiators and customer focus at least six months to a year before the next anticipated update.
What does the process involve?
Aside from quarterly updates and demos with analysts, the surveys used for Magic Quadrants and Waves can also be an involved, lengthy process. These questionnaires explore your vision and go-to-market strategy, customer distribution, technical strengths, competitive advantages, revenue position, sales and marketing strategy, as well as significant mentions or citations of your executive team and technology in industry journals online and in print. In addition to the survey, analyst firms will also conduct demos and request customer references for your technology.
How can I use the results?
Can you buy a spot on a Magic Quadrant or Wave? No, but the process does need dedicated time and effort. Because Gartner’s and Forrester’s research is proprietary, using the research results in your marketing, sales or PR efforts will also come at a cost. Both firms offer options to license the research in reprints, collaborate on webinars, develop events for analysts to discuss the results as speakers, and other tools for lead gen. Point to your results in these scorecard results to give prospective buyers a balanced view of the landscape. If they download your recap or sign up for a follow-up webinar, use this as a touch point to engage with the contact to see if all her questions were answered from the material, or if she’d prefer a one-on-one conversation to talk through specific details.