Gartner’s inclusion criteria of a minimum $20 million in revenue over the past four quarters excluded some solid solutions from their first-ever CRM Lead Management Magic Quadrant, published on June 7, 2012. Previously a Market Scope, this Magic Quadrant eliminated – in the words of its author Chris Fletcher – “some very good lead management solutions” based on annual revenue, solutions that likely cater to small and mid-sized businesses. Instead, it included solutions with only basic functionality and whose features (unlike some of those excluded) are not on par with those named “Leaders”.

That $20 million revenue stipulation alone eliminated the following Marketing Automation solutions from consideration:

Two from that list are among Ombud’s top five Marketing Automation solutions.

Was this Omission Fair?

We don’t think so. When revenue – not capability – is necessary to get past the velvet rope, some products with higher solution capability are left waiting outside while those with basic/limited functionality can skip the line.

A $20 million requirement for inclusion implies that viability is the top priority for admittance.

It is necessary, however, to understand Gartner’s client base.

“The single most important thing to keep in mind when using Magic Quadrants in your vendor selection process is that they are written for the Gartner client base,” according to Richard Stiennon in a recent article on CIO.com, “3 Things You Need to Know About Gartner Magic Quadrants”. “Gartner’s 11,000 clients are the largest organizations in the world and Gartner acknowledges that 80 percent of them are late-adaptors. They are much more likely to buy from HP, IBM or Oracle than from a start-up with the most cutting-edge solution.”

Chief research analyst at IT-Harvest and author of UP and to the RIGHT: Strategy and Tactics of Analyst Influence, Stiennon was vice president of research for Gartner from 2000-2004. His insight comes from first-hand experience and should be taken into consideration when researching technology solutions for your business. If you’re more interested in the solution’s current functionality than their name and viability, the solution that best meets your business needs, might not be in the Magic Quadrant.

Even the author of Gartner’s CRM Lead Management Magic Quadrant, Chris Fletcher, agreed that the $20 Million qualification eliminated some good lead management solutions in an interview with Marketing Automation Times.

“Yes, there are some very good lead management solutions out there from vendors that have not yet developed a revenue stream of over $20 M,” Fletcher said. “And yes, for a SaaS vendor, where the revenue stream is spread out over several years, as opposed to a licensed solution that enables the vendor to recognize the revenue immediately, this represents an even higher hurdle.”

Eliminating that hurdle may not change those companies listed as the leaders, but it would certainly showcase stronger competitors at the feature level.

Omission might not affect the Leaders

In “Gartner Magic Quadrant Evaluates CRM Lead Management But Misses The Mark(Et)”, Emma Dunstone of Bluewolf, an agile business transformation consulting firm, writes that Bluewolf agrees with Gartner’s Leader quadrant.

“We do not believe that more inclusive research would have changed the ‘Leader’ quadrant; however, it would be more helpful for marketing teams to have a more inclusive benchmark from which to base their shortlist when evaluating the best-fit solution for their companies,” wrote Dunstone.

And we agree. Consistently responding to evolving market needs with innovations for their Marketing Automation solutions, Marketo and Eloqua deserve their place in the Leader quadrant. More comprehensive solutions than those included in the Niche Players quadrant, however, were omitted as a result of the $20 Million revenue requirement. As Dunstone points out, this is unfortunate for those SMBs who use the Magic Quadrant as a research tool.

“What was unfortunate about this research, however, was the notable absence of smaller players such as Silverpop, Pardot and Manticore,” noted Dunstone. “Gartner publishes Magic Quadrants largely for the benefit of enterprise customers (who make up the bulk of clients), and so have not included vendors with less than $20 million in revenue. With this Magic Quadrant, and so many others, being available publicly on the internet, however—and seen by many buyers as the go-to research tool—it will no doubt be used by SMBs considering marketing automation also.”

Thorough research should always include more than one source, but this omission ensures that SMBs will have to expand the bulk of their research beyond the Magic Quadrant.

Why the Omission isn’t Fair

Five of the ten solutions included in Gartner’s CRM Lead Management Magic Quadrant fall into the Niche Players quadrant. These big names, Oracle, Microsoft, Salesforce.com, IBM and SAP, offer comprehensive CRM solutions, but only basic Lead Management capabilities. Some, according to Gartner, are a practical solution for a limited market segment: businesses already using that specific company’s suite of products.

To elaborate, let’s take a look at one Niche Player, Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Gartner notes that this is only a viable Lead Management solution for those companies already using that same product for CRM and sales force automation processes. Looking at Microsoft Dynamic’s features alone, this product only has a five percent solution capability as a Marketing Automation solution.

While it should be noted that no Marketing Automation solution in Ombud has a solution capability of 100 percent, Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s five percent is lower than that of solutions excluded from Gartner’s Magic Quadrant:

  • LoopFuse Solution Capability: 21 Percent
  • Pardot Solution Capability: 19 Percent
  • Silverpop Solution Capability: 19 Percent
  • Manticore Technology Solution Capability: 10 Percent

Capability has not eliminated these solutions; Gartner’s client base has, as reaffirmed in a testimony from one omitted solution.

Response from an Omitted Solution

LoopFuse recently posted their response to Gartner’s CRM Lead Management Magic Quadrant. Prior to the Magic Quadrant’s publication, LoopFuse spent several months briefing a Gartner Group analyst about their solution.

“During that discussion and completion of the survey materials, it became clear to us that this report was covering vendors who focus on the largest enterprises at the highest price points,” wrote Robert Pease. “We are not exclusively focused on large enterprise customers … Our focus remains SMBs along with groups or departments within larger companies looking for an easy to use and fast ROI marketing automation platform. That said, we were happy to get a nice mention in the report along with several other companies who are doing well but are not focused on the needs of the largest enterprises.”

Loopfuse’s testimony emphasizes the importance of considering Gartner’s client base – large enterprises – when using a Magic Quadrant as a research tool.

Good News for Excluded Solutions, Early Adopters and SMBs

Ombud offers an alternative research platform to compare Loopfuse and other excluded solutions alongside the industry leaders, a comparison that reflects daily – not yearly – product developments.

A brand-new company could release new features or an entire solution today and have a profile in Ombud immediately, available for side-by-side feature comparisons against other Marketing Automation solutions. This is good news not only for the vendor, but also for early adopters who want to stay up-to-date on the newest solutions and latest features.

Ombud solution categories can support dozens of solutions, allowing people to research more solutions within their needs and means.

Solutions are included in our Marketing Automation solution category chart after an Ombud user rates them. A snapshot is below.

Disagree with where a solution falls on this chart? Change it! Ombud users are empowered to add and rate individual features. Those specific, weighted features determine a solution’s capability. The other consideration: user reviews. Join today to change the chart.