You Didn’t Get Included on a Magic Quadrant, Now What?

The Gartner® Magic Quadrant (MQ) is considered nirvana for most IT technology and services firms. But as a niche or early stage company, what happens if you didn’t make it on this exclusive report? Having worked with Gartner and a number of other analyst firms over the past decade, I can offer a number of suggestions.

First, remember that the Gartner® Magic Quadrant just a guideline in a simple two-dimensional illustration. It’s not the final statement of your worth; and certainly nobody should get fired over it.  IT buyers select vendors based on more than just this one criteria. Your business will be fine if you aren’t in the top square or even if you aren’t on the report at all.  While useful, even Gartner analysts admit it’s over hyped. As one analyst has said, it’s “overused, misused and abused”.

Here are 5 things to do if you didn’t make the Magic Quadrant for your technology.

  1. Don’t give up on a Gartner relationship – an MQ is a journey, not a destination

Work on the relationship. Keep in mind that you might not have made the inclusion criteria this time, but have a shot at it the next round.  Every situation is different and thousands of IT buyers use research firms like Gartner to help them find the best fit for their needs.  The valuable part for the IT buyer is the needs analysis and the recommendations based on specific matches.  If you’ve made a compelling case for your capabilities, you will be recommended when your solution meets the specific needs of a particular buyer. So don’t stop corresponding with firms like Gartner.  Get to know your Account Rep and follow his/her advice.  Give good briefings and engage frequently.

Keep up your engagement because the analysts’ input can be valuable in positioning and roadmap development.  And there are many opportunities for “one off” inclusions like Cool Vendor lists, briefs, or case studies. Sometimes a focused brief featuring your unique capability can be even more valuable than the mythical quadrant.

Quadrants typically come out annually so there is always next year. Know the metrics for inclusion and focus on what needs to be done to make the next one.

Your Account Rep is your ally – take their advice and input and they’ll help you maximize the relationship. It will take time and energy. Analyst talk to hundreds of other companies so you need to work to stay top of mind.

  1. Work with other analyst firms

Work with a variety of analyst firms – big and small. Gartner isn’t the only big IT analyst firm in the space.  Most of you know names like Forrester and IDC.  And the list goes well beyond that. Here is a list of the top 10.

Up-and-comers in the space that you might not have heard of include HfS.  Also don’t ignore boutique or niche analysts. They can often offer more insight and value related to your particular focus area. Check out firms such as AOTMP (telecom and mobility management), Amalgam Insights (telecom, mobility, AI and IoT), Ventana Research (data analytics), Supply Chain Insights (supply chain), Sirius Decisions (Sales / Sales Enablement), NSS Labs (cybersecurity), Cybersecurity Ventures  (cybersecurity) or Chain Business Insights (blockchain).

Check out this useful bit of insight from a former analyst.

  1. Consider putting out a “Why We Weren’t on the Magic Quadrant“ Bulletin

First, you need to know the reason.  It could be as simple as timing, or you might have missed one or more of the criteria. Every quadrant has very specific criteria for inclusion and there are only 15 – 20 spots. You can ask your account rep to set up an inquiry to learn why you were not included – just be sure you don’t come across sounding defensive – LISTEN carefully.  The goal here is to still maintain a good relationship with the analyst.

Here are two examples of well laid out posts by companies who were not included.

This company chose not to apply and clearly stated the reasons.

Microsoft did a good job neutrally laying out why they missed the EMM quadrant.

  1. Work on getting on the next one

Know why you didn’t make it. Which criteria do you need to beef up on? Having that knowledge is valuable. You can easily find the criteria online. And it’s always included in the requirements survey you need to complete. It could just be timing – maybe you first did your briefing too close to the wrap up the report. Gartner publishes the annual calendar for every Magic Quadrant and the window is about 6 months. Getting into the development cycles takes a little research and planning. See when each quadrant you might play in comes out and work backward to make sure you get your briefing in and also have time to fulfill the quadrant questionnaire and requirements.  The extra data and client interviews take time. You always want to have a handful of clients lined up who are willing to be interviewed.

Useful read! Here is an article with good tips on a giving a good briefing.

  1. Your space really might be too new

Face it, there rarely is a true time when you can say “I have no competitors”.  But with new tech emerging as fast as it does, it is truly possible your category is still forming. On the other hand, perhaps your category is really too new for a Magic Quadrant.  Gartner takes a bit of time to watch an industry mature before they put out a Quadrant. For emerging categories Gartner starts with Cool Vendors or MarketScopes.

A Magic Quadrant needs 12 – 20 stable players before they will put one out. If your space is brand new, then it might be too early for a Quadrant to be put together.  That often takes months or even a few years and a baseline number of stable, revenue producing players in the space before a Quadrant is developed.

So now you realize you still have a future beyond the Magic Quadrant, you have some work to do!

For more tips on analyst relations, visit the Analyst Relations Org.


Oinkodomeo  provides sales and marketing consulting including sales enablement process improvement, analyst relations management, social selling, inside sales training and coaching – all built on a foundation of sales and marketing alignment.