Gartner Blog Network

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

The Golden Triangle of Great B2B Context

by Hank Barnes  |  December 17, 2019

As the year comes to an end, I figured it was time to revisit old favorite topics.   Even as I approach 7 years at Gartner–7 years of working with clients on issues related to differentiation and storytelling–I still see the same pattern of mistakes being repeated.   The central problem:  an uncontrollable belief that the most […]

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What Matters Least to Line-of-Business Buyers

by Hank Barnes  |  December 10, 2019

A few weeks ago, I shared some data in a post on a different take on differentiation.  That data reflected the most important criteria for evaluating technology providers for line-of-business buyers. Then late last week, i was checking things out in my twitter feed when I saw this from Maureen Blandford (link to the conversation […]

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A (Possible) New Way of Categorizing Enterprise Technology Purchases

by Hank Barnes  |  December 3, 2019

In our studies of enterprise technology buying behaviors, we often focus broadly, looking at team-based buying in general, or by focusing on specific categories (e.g. application software or security) that too are broad.  We’ve done this largely because we see the team dynamics playing the biggest factor.   Even when we look at objectives, such as […]

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Coordination Complexities of Larger Enterprise Deals

by Hank Barnes  |  November 26, 2019

It is hard to argue with the idea that a bigger deal is better for technology vendors.   Of course, there are some situations where I might disagree (one of my startups closed the biggest deal in our history and it caused us to lose focus on our ideal customers, changed our competitive mix (where our […]

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The C-Level Mythology

by Hank Barnes  |  November 19, 2019

Last week, I joined in a bit of a twitter dialog with Frank Scavo, when he shared this: The whole dialog can be found here.   I jumped in because I hate the word alignment.  Can’t stand it.   From where I sit, enterprises use it to pretend that groups are cooperating across silos.   What I’ve experienced […]

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A Different Perspective on Differentiation

by Hank Barnes  |  November 12, 2019

I write and talk about differentiation a lot.  And our vendor clients are constantly looking for help in uncovering and communicating differentiation.  Its very much focused on what makes them special and different than specific alternatives.   Differentiation is critical for success. But recently, I saw some data that provided another perspective.  My colleague, Derry Finkeldey,  led […]

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Why I Don’t Assess Vendor Products

by Hank Barnes  |  November 5, 2019

It often seems strange to people when I talk to them that I work for Gartner, but don’t cover any product categories, technologies, or market segments.  And I like it that way. Yes, I have a long history in the technology industry.  I spent a lot of time in some interesting areas (Web Content Managment, […]

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The Scale Excuse

by Hank Barnes  |  October 29, 2019

I’m sick of the word scale and would be ecstatic to not hear it again for the remainder of the year (and maybe longer).  Why?  Because in most cases, it comes across as an excuse. Yes, the ability to scale is important, but here is what I hear when scale comes into many of my […]

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The Rebirth of Enterprise Sales

by Hank Barnes  |  October 22, 2019

It seems that the death of enterprise sales teams has been greatly exaggerated.  Often these broad claims were accompanied, once you dug deeper, with added context–such as in commodity sales situations, but overall the largely held perspective was that customers are in control with ready access to information and advice.  This made sellers seem like […]

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The Vendor Conflict Between Closure and Continuous

by Hank Barnes  |  October 15, 2019

Closure. Closing the deal.  Completing a phase.  These are all things that organizations look for.  Many processes at vendors are all about closure.   The MQL hand-off.  The sales to customer success hand-off.    We cling to the idea of clear phases and beginnings and ends.  The funnel as a metaphor is about closure of “phases.” […]

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