on Successful Vendor Briefings
share their advice for AR professionals who are preparing for a Gartner Vendor
What's the key information you look
for in a Vendor Briefing?
Massimo Pezzini, vice president
and distinguished analyst, application development integration and Web technologies,
- "There's no better way to communicate that
your product is delivering its intended business benefits than telling a story
of a successful implementation. I like to remind vendors just how powerful this
technique can be.
- "If you have not sold a new product
and, hence, you have no success stories, be sure to tell us about any pilots that
have been completed. Analysts appreciate this and won't interpret it negatively
- "Have your numbers ready for basic questions
such as, 'How many customers do you have? How many engagements do you deliver
per year? What's your market share? Which verticals are you pursuing?' AR professionals
should ensure that everyone in the briefing can recite their numbers cold with
What's your best advice for
an AR professional who is preparing their company to brief Gartner for the first
Andrew White, vice president research, business
applications and process, says:
"As a new vendor,
we expect to see a different twist on an old problem or the vendor putting technology
to work in a new and innovative way. But unfortunately, many vendors new to the
Gartner briefing process consume too much time with what they believe to be a
unique point of view that actually doesn't communicate anything new. Facts always
talk louder than chest beating.
- "AR professionals
should ensure that their company clearly differentiates itself from existing players
in the market; marketing hyperbole won't impress the analyst.
a vendor new to the market says, 'We know more about this than anyone else,' it
causes any audience, including an industry analyst, to shut down. Communicate
with pride, and with facts, but be careful not to get too egocentric."
AR managers cut all selling out of their company's briefing with Gartner?
LeHong, research vice president, retail segment, says:
expect vendors to engage in a certain amount of selling when they brief us. But
as an analyst relations manager, ensure that your presentation team knows that
a vendor briefing is not a sales call. It is an opportunity to build understanding
and trust. If your company is pushing the technology envelope or has landed a
unique deal, we want to know about it. But be careful not to oversell.
your management team that Gartner analysts cross-check and validate everything
they hear. If you oversell something, we'll find out about it. And if overselling
becomes a pattern, it will actually erode our trust.
should not be shy about telling us they've learned from their mistakes or that
they made assumptions that didn't play out as they intended. There is no such
thing as a perfect implementation or a perfect product strategy. If you tell us
about things that went wrong and how you're correcting them, we interpret that
very positively. If you tell us everything is going perfectly, that can actually
raise a red flag."
What should an AR manager
do when a Vendor Briefing gets combative or argumentative?
Perkins, research vice president, secure business enablement, says:
Briefings can get argumentative for any number of reasons. The best advice I can
give AR managers is to take preventive steps to avoid arguments from happening
in the first place:
- "Prepare no more than five
to seven slides and keep them brief, crisp and focused.
five-to-10 rule, which means allow five minutes for questions after each 10-minute
segment of presentation; that way, you will ensure you make it to the last slide.
Few analysts, if any, will hold their questions to the end of your presentation.
sure to brief your management team on the purpose of the Vendor Briefing: to understand
your strategy, product planning/development, road map and architecture.
course, we want to understand your marketing and sales strategy, especially if
you're a startup, but save it for the presentation's end. Ensure that the presentation
includes competitive context, customer retention, partnership and licensing strategies.
Keep it tight and focused.
- "If you've done
your homework and briefed your management team correctly and an argument still
erupts during a briefing, table it.
"Some disagreements need to be
aired, but try not to waste valuable Vendor Briefing time with issues. As an AR
manager, request a call with the source of the tension, which can often be over
a Gartner Magic Quadrant positioning, Gartner MarketScope study or other published
research. As a last resort, there's the Gartner Ombudsman. But keep in mind, disagreements
and issues are best resolved at the analyst level."
should an AR manager do when some bad or even damaging press is released about
their company just before a scheduled briefing?
Young, vice president and distinguished analyst, outsourcing, says:
long ago, I attended an event sponsored by a vendor that had just experienced
some pretty rough waters. The CEO faced the issue head on. He didn't wait until
mid-presentation to address it; he didn't wait for the Q&A. He acknowledged
it right away along with what he and his team were doing to manage the situation.
It was the best way to go.
- "My cardinal rule:
Don't ignore unfortunate bad press. Be proactive and follow the Tylenol model.
Tell us, to the extent you can, the context of the situation, the facts as you
see them today and what you're doing about it. Have a senior executive present
- "In some cases, there will
be things that are confidential. You may be in a quiet period, or the situation
might involve rumor. We understand that you'll have communications constraints,
but generally, transparency is the best advice I can give AR managers in this
situation. Tell us your side of the story with the truth as you see it.
a briefing in the wake of some unfortunate bad news is usually not a good idea
because it can validate the situation. If you're not prepared to talk about recent
bad news, you can still acknowledge the situation and table the discussion until
Visit the Vendor
Briefings page on gartner.com to learn more and to request a Vendor Briefing.