- This article covers Gartner’s sales tactics in its Fort Meyers office.
- Gartner has copied the Scientology tactic of constantly pushing customers to higher packages when the first packaged sold to them does not work as promised.
Rather shocking approaches to sales have been actively promoted by Gartner for some time. In other articles, we covered how Gartner is a faux research entity that is far more about sales than doing research. In this article, you will learn about Gartner’s shady sales practices in detail from first hand accounts.
Gartner’s Sales Tactics
Gartner uses unethical sales tactics. Real research entities do not do the following:
- Unlike Gartner sales, Consumer Reports does not make promises to companies that they can improve their rankings if they use their “advisory services.”
- Academic research does not employ the tactics of Gartner sales.
Who has a series of ever-escalating levels that are used to upsell a dissatisfied customer that is employed by Gartner sales?
Well, Scientology is probably the most prominent. Gartner sales faces the issue with vendors that the improvement in the MQ does not improve as much as Gartner salespeople promise. Therefore, at some point, the vendors brings this up. This is then when the Gartner sales person moves to the upsell, telling them that they will get better access to the analyst if they pay more.
This is taught in the two months Gartner Fort Meyers sales training. I have some of the Gartner sales documentation used by Gartner Fort Meyers given to me by dissatisfied people who went through the training. Gartner Fort Myers is both where the sales Academy is located and is also the sales location for small and medium business or SMB. The idea is that the less experienced Gartner sales individuals are trained on less valuable customers, which are smaller.
So it is difficult to see how anyone from Gartner can deny this strategy exists.
The Genesis of This Article on Gartner Sales Tactics
This article was developed because of people that reached out to me from Gartner’s Fort Meyers location. Let us review a sampling of some of the interesting comments or reviews of the Fort Meyers sales location on GlassDoor.
GlassDoor Reviews Quotation Categories
Quotation on Management Style
“The middle management has little to no experience and cares more about how they look to upper management than your actual success and development. Try to push you out the door if you do not deliver results immediately. Take the easy way out if you are not easy enough to manage.”
Quotation on Youth and Inexperience and Turnover at Gartner Fort Myers
“Consider hiring managers from outside of the organization. You hire talent that is far too young to manage their peers within a year. That being said your average tenure for an account executive is 7 months. There is obviously something wrong when clients say “you’re my 5th AE in the last 18 months.”
Recruiters don’t tell you that you can be cut during training after relocating and signing leases. If this is the case, Gartner should provide housing for the 10 weeks of training since they do not offer severance to help pay costs for breaking a lease.
Some of the Managers and VPs have 3-5 years of experience…total, and I mean out of college workforce experience. I get that many corporations would rather train young people who are less expensive and will do it the proven “Gartner” way. But as a young professional I would rather have a manager who can teach me something from real life experience versus just parroting the training departments latest brochure.”
Quotation on Sales Robots and Secrecy on Terminations
“This place seems very automation driven, and mysterious about it, and is also very secretive with their employees (i.e job elimination) . Everything seems to be on “a need to know basis”, the Manager’s show no respect for their employees, you are truly a “number” here, the turnover here is exceptionally high, which they try very hard to hide during the recruitment process- if you ask they will not give you a straight answer. The overall package to move to Fort Myers, upend your life, and submit to their very long, stressful, and psychologically taxing interview process, should make someone with a keen eye for company culture, think twice. Until they address some issues resulting in this enormous turnover problem, and bad management, and revolving door atmosphere, they will keep having the same issues. They do not respect their employees. You will be a number here. (The number is even on your tiny, desk/cube thing).”
Quotation on Low Pay
“Far more cons to working at Gartner than Pros. 2.5 years ago, Gartner used to have a great culture (professional) and you could turn to almost anyone for advice. Within the past year or so, there is nothing but frat boys and very young people right out of college. I wouldn’t turn to 95% of people here now for advice as they have no clue what they are doing. Pay is below average. Making $65K per year for hitting your quote is insane.
Do not come to work here for SMB. Do not drink the Gartner Koolaid when they tell you how prestigious it is to work here. If you enjoy being micromanaged, gambling on your territory and who you report to and making very little money then this place is for you.”
Gartner is So Prestigious
“No advice will fix the circus that is going on. Too much fluff and hype of how Gartner is the best company in the world with “limitless opportunities” as long as you have a “no limits mindset”. Quit blaming reps for not making sales all because of not “checking a box” in the value selling framework.
Start telling new hires that they may move their entire life across the country they may not make it out of the academy.”
Quotation on The Reality
“Gartner looks amazing on a resume. Great place to quit for a better role.
Oh my my my where to even begin. First of all, the short positive reviews on here are written by recruiters (and they turn over almost as fast as sales reps). Your territory will be a few letters of a state split among 5-6 people so you’ll all be calling into the same 200 people all year.
Expect around 80-85% first year turnover among reps. Management is whoever played the politics/Gartner Hunger Games well enough for 2 years to advance. You will manage accounts that you did not sell, who were sold under false pretenses (HT only), which will not auto-renew and you will be penazlied for it. Bring up any negativity and expect to be coached out for a negative mindset.”
Quotation on HyperGrowth
“Gartner SMB’s motto is “growth engine” and they truly mean that. Tenured AE’s are phased out by 3 more fresh out of college faces who are slightly less capable but equally profitable in an inside sales role. They claim to be hiring 600 more individuals in the coming year, do not look at this as a good thing as territories become more scarce and individuals devalued. Managers are often middle of the road AE’s who lucked into quality books of business or were too bought into the kool-Aid to realize there are better opportunities. This leads to a perpetual cycle of talented individuals leaving due to poor management and less talented individuals getting promoted. If you are an aspiring end-user AE my advice to you is fight for a vertical (finance or healthcare).
A major issue with Gartner and the employee churn is random books of business, landing yourself on a vertical greatly increases your chance of success. Recruiters will also falsely portray the opportunity to achieve a field role within the first two years (absolute minimum 27 months if politic’d to perfection) as well as the percentage of employees who actually achieve OTE. A few smaller issues are the quarterly meetings that are actually just 4 hour pep rallies. The traffic will greatly increase in the winter months due to snow birds. You will have to stay late at the end of each quarter and vacation time for the Christmas and New Year holiday weeks is non existent.
Hiring employees that are very young and straight out of college often results in a very immature “high school” environment. Often a wolf-of-wall street feeling when going after big incentives – resulting in a lot of “bad business” sold to C-level executives that could have been great network sources for young professionals. The management level is not reputable or credible enough to hold their role.”
Quotation on Call Center Jobs at Gartner Fort Myers
“This is a call center position ! You will sit on your cube face down and call call and call. People think they are so fancy because they work there but let’s be honest !You are a call center rep! This was the most boring job I ever had… Management absolutely terrible worse I ever had! A bunch of inexperienced girls thinking they are the best thing out there.”
Quotation on The Intellectual Orientation of Gartner Fort Meyers
There is one kind of person that fits in well for Gartner: Male, White, Jock/Bro, Unintelligent usually. Conversations at work consist of topics high school bros talk about. Very few females or people of other races.
Quotation on Short-Term Orientation
“To the VP’s: Stop allowing our channel to hire so many new people, Don’t pressure young AE’s to burn relationships just to get a few more deals in before the end of the quarter, Meet with your AE’s more, Try to hire outside of Florida and outside of the “typical” Gartner robot, inspire more creativity and less of your process.
This role can be very transactional, so if you’re looking for a relationship management role, this isn’t for you. Fast paced!”
Quotation on Pricing Deception
“Put a strong stop on the deceptive pricing incentives and false time bound incentives. It erodes the brand, decreases the trustworthiness of the org, and demoralizes sales teams that value integrity. Focus on long term contribution to the global organization as a channel and award longevity and employee loyalty by compensating bonuses that show long-term value toward the employee (aka stock bonuses and allocations, …”
Quotation on Greed
“This company is growing too big, too fast because top brass only cares about making money, not making employees or clients happy. If you’re not on board with the rate and size that this company aspires to grow, then you have a “fixed mindset” not the “Gartner growth mindset”. There are so many programs and processes that require so much manual intervention that efficiency and quality of work suffer.
During the recruiting process, Gartner practically promises that you will be making $250 to $300K a year and Gartner will make everything possible to ensure your success. What they don’t tell you is that after completing their Academy Training program you can be fired if you’re consider a bad fit. Termination will occur even after the new employee has quit there previous job, relocated at a great expense. The first question a recent fired Academy graduate asked a manager was “why was I not told during the interview process that I could be fired out of the Academy” the response from the manager was that if they disclosed this fact, they would not be able to recruit as many applicants.”
Quotation on Gartner as a Cult (With Gartner Fort Myers Leading the Way)
“They are obsessed with role playing to the point where Gartner feels like a cult.
Life at Gartner can become somewhat “Culty.” Employees who do not drink the kool aid will get phased out of the company.”
Quotation on Inexperience
“There is an odd contradiction between professionalism and the Gartner Culture — We sell ourselves as Strategic Business partners to our clients, but he majority of Account Reps are 23 year old former fraternity brothers running around shooting nerf guns at each other.
Gartner SMB division requires you to move to Fort Myers, Florida. The recruiters tell you that you’ll come down to Florida, put in your 2 years and then get placed nationwide in one of Gartner’s offices. That advancement path is very possible, and many employees do get placed nationwide, but the SMB Management will fight to keep you in Florida (aka making money for their division). It is much easier to get promoted within the Florida office rather than get placed at another Gartner Office in a bigger city.
Great chance for cell phone and copier salespeople to play IT consultants – no experience in anything related to software or IT hardware necessary at all to meet minimum job reqmts. Gartner will give you a sales “talk track” and “script” to repeat, over and over. Ask at 90/120/180 days – you won’t have to be creative or authentic
“Sales” for 95% of the salespeople at Gartner is mostly collecting renewals from existing clients. Cancel rewrite of existing contracts is a great way to re-book existing customers as new orders, and make it seem that you have growth – PREV, NCVI — all just the same numbers. Thankfully, no competitors exist in Research & Advisory services – Forrester, CEB, etc, don’t count.
Previous sales experience in IT is not welcomed — as you will bring ideas and knowledge that will only make management uncomfortable. Average length of tenure in individual sales contributors is 0 – 3 years max.
The culture is falling apart in SMB. Its basically a frat house. Everyone is straight out of college. New Account Managers are hired en mass and pushed through huge training classes to keep up with the turnover.
The market for SMB is not growing as fast as they tell you. The value prop is VERY weak for tech vendors.”
Essentially, paying off Gartner can make sense for the larger vendors, but the value proposition declines as the vendors become smaller. So the value depends upon the size of the vendor.
Quotation on Gartner Fort Myers as a Boiler Room
“SMB Sales is a Boiler Room with Dishonest Leadership
Gartner is not above practicing dishonest sales tactics in order to manipulate clients into doing whatever Gartner wants.”
Gartner & Scientology; Similarities in Sales Strategy
This article could just as easily have been titled “how not to get ripped off by Gartner,” but due to the similarities in sales approach between Gartner and the Church of Scientology, I through the present title was the most accurate, although I will acknowledge it is a bit aggressive.
If one thinks of these two entities, on the surface one would think there is nothing in common between the two. I wrote a book on Gartner, and have spent a decent amount of time studying how Scientology works. This is part of a longstanding interest in the techniques that are used for mind control or persuasion (depending on your perspective). This study leads to reviewing wartime propaganda posters to other topics.
Studying rather extreme forms of mind control is proper training to understand lesser forms of mind control. All power structures engage in some form of mind control to influence them to engage in the behaviors that they deem preferable. And from the military to private businesses, almost no one admits to doing it.
A Series of Echelons to Attain
Both Gartner and Scientology have a defined set of echelons that one must go through. With Scientology, these are well-known levels and are called Operating Thetan levels. The concepts behind these levels are pretty whacky. But the important features of these levels are:
- How structured they are.
- How they create the incentive to move up through the levels, much like attaining different levels in the martial arts.
Scientology puts something the prospect desires and values ahead of them, and then charges for this. These levels are achieved by paying for various courses and auditing (this is where a person connects a device to you and engages in the form of psychoanalysis). With Gartner, there are levels that offer more access to analysts. Gartner positions its analysts as all knowing, increasing their value, but that access to them will always cost. What Gartner does not emphasize is that the analysts learn as much from the vendors and that Gartner then resells this information to buyers. Either way, Gartner is always getting paid.
Satisfaction “So Close” to Being Attained
In each case, as one moves upward in the hierarchy, the costs increase. In both cases, the benefits that are predicted are promoted by the salesperson. In most cases (in the case of Scientology many of the promises are impossible to realize, so in Scientology, it is in all cases) are not matched by the outcomes observed by the customer. The customer in the case of Scientology being the convert and in the case of Gartner the software vendor. I have never met a Scientologist that I know of. But I have met Gartner salespeople, and Gartner hires very persuasive individuals. I assume Scientology has some quota system and bonus system which also attracts the most persuasive people to work in sales for them.
A Common Reliance on Secrecy
Both Scientology and Gartner rely upon secrecy. Those Scientologists at the lower echelons cannot be told what awaits them in the later training. You must pay quite a lot of money for that. Similarly, it is commonly stated by Gartner that only about “15% of the research is actually in the Gartner publications.” Those that want to see more need to pay for higher levels to access these true insights.
There are several reasons for not including the insights in the publications. One is that Gartner has a lot of entities to please. Each software vendor wants to score well in the Magic Quadrant and published materials. Gartner cannot please them all. But by keeping much of the information private, they can tell one thing to one group buyers and vendors, and something else to another group. Just as with Scientology, none of this is what the research shows, but about profit maximization. An entity that can tell different stories to different groups can charge more from these groups than if everything was laid out on the table. This is in opposition the academic method where one publishes the full method. Although to be accurate, many academic papers circumvent transparency by using overly complicated mathematics which very few people can understand. In fact, this is most likely the reason for the preponderance of mathematics in academic papers, as it hides the actual core of the research from the vast majority of those who could critique it if it were laid bare.
The Declaration of Hidden or Revealed Truth
Like Gartner, Scientology does not publish the highest order of information that it uses to sell as the revealed truth. We only have the details of this information from those who converted from the Church and published the documents. When reading these documents, another reason why Scientology keeps it secret emerges. Most of the highest order information is insane. Scientology was founded by a former science fiction writer with mental health problems, and these highest order documents are simply another science fiction story.
Both Gartner and Scientology do a very effective job of creating value through scarcity. This stake raising is continual in the relationship between Gartner and the software vendors. At one point Scientology topped out at Operating Thetan 8. Of course, the Scientologists that paid to get at this level did not see the benefits. Then all of a sudden new books by the founder L Ron Hubbard were “discovered,” (after his death) by the Church. Immediately, those that has previously been at the top level (called crossing the bridge to clear) had to re-enroll and pay a tremendous amount of money to do so.
Keeping information secret has a long established history in religions. In modern times everyone has access to a Bible. However, in during the time of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church killed people that it found that trafficked in Bibles that were translated into the common language of the region.
Continually Increasing the Stakes
Both Gartner and Scientology respond to a lack of progress towards goals by requesting more investment on the part of the software or vendor. Each is promising a different thing of course. So for Scientology, incredible claims are made. In addition to “total freedom,” Scientologists are told that when they reach the upper levels of Scientology (so called Operating Thetan level 8 or 9), they will be able to be “clear.” When they reach this state they can do things like:
- Be in total control of their emotional states
- Move objects with their mind
- Engaging in interstellar travel (with their consciousness, not their body).
Before you reach that level, there are other intermediate capabilities they will attain. Of course, Scientologists don’t achieve these; they sometimes push back on the Church. They are told that they need to spend more money and take more courses. That is any shortcoming in attaining goals is externalized to the participant. This is exactly how Gartner’s sales strategy works.
- At Gartner, software vendors who don’t develop the leads that they were promised are told to “get in front of” analysts.
- “Getting in Front of” means purchasing their services.
- These are the so-called “advisory services.”
- This is where Gartner analysts are asked to evaluate the vendor.
- That is the vendors coaxed into purchasing services from Gartner that they don’t want.
- This often takes the form of marketing advice.
To sell these services, the Gartner account reps, as with Scientology account reps will continually propose a potential breakthrough in the future. While the sales promises have not come true “yet” the customer/Scientologist is told that a breakthrough is just around the corner. Neither Gartner nor Scientology account reps would want to see the customer/Scientologist “throw it all away” before they have obtained their breakthrough.
Gartner account reps know they have to use this line to keep vendors re-upping. This is used on vendors that have not seen much benefit from their Gartner spend. To be an effective Gartner account rep you must be persuasive enough to continue to obtain subscriptions from vendors that see a marginal value from Gartner.
Gartner Proposes Vendors Purchase Technology Advisory Services of Their Own Free Will
Gartner proposes that the software vendors freely purchase these services and that they are unrelated to the vendors’ positioning in their Magic Quadrant. When Gartner salespeople talk to software vendors, they contradict this statement by saying that “getting in front of” the analysts will help the vendor’s cause. Although they may be a bit opaque about the direct relationship between hiring the analyst and the improvement in the Magic Quadrant outcomes. But the term getting in front of is clear from one perspective. That is it will always cost money.
Gartner analysts tend to be deluded. They think that the software vendors would want their advice if Gartner did not control their access to sales leads. What the vendors want is sales leads and assistance in closing deals. I have interviewed many software vendors, and this is the crux of why they purchase services from Gartner, and why they engage Gartner in the first place.
The Pay to Play Model
Neither Gartner, not Scientology are based on all that much research. For those that would dismiss Scientology altogether as it is a cult (or a multi-level marketing scheme). Many ex-Scientologists claim benefits, particularly from the lower levels. Essentially, Scient0logy’s found, L Ron Hubbard copied his ideas from standard psychology books, but through renaming claimed all the ideas as if they were his. As one progresses through the echelons on the OT levels, it gets weirder and weirder, but much of Scientology has some foundation.
In this way, it is like Gartner. Gartner has some foundation, but Gartner hides the method (or methodology) from people. And very few people take any time to check on this. Instead, they tend to take Gartner’s Magic Quadrants at face value. I don’t have the space to get into all the ways that Gartners results are opaque and manufactured, but I have outlined them specifically in the book Gartner and the Magic Quadrant: A Guide for Buyers, Vendors, and Investors. Gartner prefers to keep its method opaque so that it has maximum latitude in moving vendors and applications around in the rankings based upon the “financial contribution” of the software vendors.
When I investigated Gartner for the book, I compared Gartner’s research versus academic research, Consumer Reports, and the Rand Institute. Here is what I found:
Gartner publishes a “Supply Chain Top 25,” which most people would assume is the twenty-five companies that have the highest-performing supply chains (that is, the highest performance from the metrics normally associated with supply chain management—things like forecast accuracy, inventory turnover, service level, and other similar measures). However, upon reading Gartner’s methodology for creating the Supply Chain Top 25, only one of these criterion are used.
The criterions are instead:
- Return on Assets (ROA)—Net income / total assets
- Inventory Turns—Cost of goods sold / inventory
- Revenue Growth—Change in revenue from prior year
- Gartner’s Internal Voting
- Gartner’s Client’s Voting
Two of the criteria that determine the Supply Chain Top 25 do not have anything to do with supply chain at all, but have to do with financial performance! It is important to consider that Gartner’s target market is not researchers, but rather decision makers who are buyers, vendors and investors. Many (but not all) of the people in these groups will be more interested in simply seeing the results. In fact, there are many who question how many of the people who read and rely upon Gartner’s reports actually read the entire report, much less understand the research methodology.
This gets back to the main theme throughout this book—that Gartner’s research is not particularly useful without the context provided by Gartner analysts. However, because the privately provided information is not part of the public record, it is also not auditable. Gartner’s most profitable move is not to base their outcomes on actual research, but instead to have the vendors bid to be in the Magic Quadrant, but then to claim that it relies on research.
The Hard Close Part of the Sales Process
Gartner provides far less than it promises for most of the year. However, that changes when the software vendor comes close to renewing their “subscription” with Gartner. At that point, the account executive will bring extra sugar to ask what can be done to ensure the customer re-ups.
Once you move away from a solid method being used in the source, you move to something called “revealed truth.” Revealed truth is the basis for all religions and is a logical fallacy. I found this interesting quotation while looking into the topic.
“Of course, the very notion of revealed truth is in fact a logical fallacy. See, truth revealed by a supposedly supernatural entity is a particular case of argument from authority. In elementary logic, arguments from authority are a classical example of fallacy, because there is no independent reason or evidence supporting the statement alleged to be true, other than somebody telling you that it is true.Of course, the very notion of revealed truth is in fact a logical fallacy. See, truth revealed by a supposedly supernatural entity is a particular case of argument from authority. In elementary logic, arguments from authority are a classical example of fallacy, because there is no independent reason or evidence supporting the statement alleged to be true, other than somebody telling you that it is true.” – http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2006/02/revealed-truth-logical-fallacy.html
From these reviews and conversations with ex-Gartner resources who have been through Gartner sales training in Gartner Fort Myers, the picture that is painted is of a boiler room operation. Gartner sales employ underhanded tactics to complete sales. It is also engaging in not only labor exploitation of its young and impressionable workforce in Gartner Fort Myers, but it is essentially training them to be unethical. Gartner Fort Myers is a finishing school for deceptive sales tactics that Gartner Fort Myers trains into sales people before they move on to other parts of Gartner.
- Gartner has moved into the harvesting phase of its lifecycle. This is where money comes in front of everything, and the organization becomes entirely sales dominated.
- This is the phase that IBM has been in for some time, and that SAP recently (in the past 5 years) entered into.
- It is a phase that can only be entered into if the entity has significant monopoly power. Gartner does have this monopoly power, and they are abusing it.
Obviously, Scientology and Gartner have nothing to do with one another. Upon review, it does appear as if Scientology and Gartner share a some of the same sales techniques. It is just that there are some ways to persuade people to give you money, and so organizations will tend to go back to techniques that work.
The idea for this started when I was speaking to a vendor, and they explained how their Gartner account rep would always respond to the vendor’s complaint about a lack of value from their Gartner expenditure by proposing that the software vendor just invests more. Therefore, the Gartner account rep is substantially continually upselling the software vendor to more advanced services. This immediately reminded me of material I read about how Scientology sells.
When I speak with vendors, there is a general disrespect for Gartner. They see Gartner as really nothing more than pay to play entity. Many vendors buy services from Gartner because they feel like they the cannot afford not to. That is there is a toll booth quality to Gartner. Therefore a substantial sum of Gartner’s revenues is obtained against the will of the software vendors.
Gartner takes advantage of many software vendors with promises that do not come true. The only real way to do something about this is to publish information about how they do it. If you have a Gartner story, you would like to share, contact me to discuss. All sources are kept confidential.
Financial Bias Disclosure
This article and no other article on the Brightwork website is paid for by a software vendor, including Oracle and SAP. Brightwork does offer competitive intelligence work to vendors as part of its business, but no published research or articles are written with any financial consideration. As part of Brightwork’s commitment to publishing independent, unbiased research, the company’s business model is driven by consulting services; no paid media placements are accepted.
Gartner is the most influential IT analyst firm in the world. Their approval can make or break a vendor in an application category, or at the very least control their growth. Gartner has been behind most of the major IT trends for decades. However, many people read Gartner reports without understanding how Gartner works, how it comes to its information, its orientation, or even the details of the methods it uses for its analytical products. All of this and more is explained in this book.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction
- Chapter 2: An Overview of Gartner
- Chapter 3: How Gartner Makes Money
- Chapter 4: Comparing Gartner to the RAND Corporation, and Academic Research
- Chapter 5: The Magic Quadrant
- Chapter 6: Other Analytical Products Offered by Gartner
- Chapter 7: Gartner’s Future and Cloud Computing
- Chapter 8: Adjusting the Magic Quadrant
- Chapter 9: Is Gartner Worth the Investment?
- Chapter 10: Conclusion
- Appendix a: How to Use Independent Consultants for Software Selection
- Appendix b: What Does the History of Media Tell Us About This Topic
- Appendix c: Disclosure Statements and Code of Ethics