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The Sumo Advantage: Leveraging Business Development to Team with Heavyweights and Grow in Any Economy [Kindle Edition]

Bernie Brenner
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $9.99

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Book Description

Tangible, sustainable growth will come from building and nourishing strategic relationship... not just sales.

In what researchers now describe as "the Era of a Kinship Economy," leveraging strategic partnerships is increasingly critical to your company's growth. To get and stay ahead of your competition, you need partners. And not just any partners. You need strategic, Fortune 1000 powerhouses. Partnering with giants is complicated, but most companies, even the smallest ones, can benefit from creating such a bond through a strong business development (BD) effort.

In The Sumo Advantage, you'll learn how to build and sustain BD initiatives that will propel your enterprise. You'll learn how to design and build your company's BD Layer to turbo-charge sales efforts and growth. You'll discover how to identify potential partners and entice them to partner with you in a win-win scenario. You'll also begin to understand the key terms of a successful partnership and learn how to negotiate to get them. Finally, you'll learn how to identify the best BD possibilities, and get the most out of every strategic partnership.

Editorial Reviews


"I've seen these business development principles in action. They work! At CARFAX, Bernie and his business development team made a substantial strategic impact on the company and its successful growth in a very short period of time."
Richard Raines - President, CARFAX, Inc.

"Successful entrepreneurs figure out how to hack the world to create seemingly "unfair" advantages that propel their companies to greatness; as an entrepreneur and investor I'm constantly working with my teams towards this goal. The Sumo Advantage is the unfair advantage we look for, outlined by one of the true masters of BD - thank you Bernie for sharing this with us."
Joe Lonsdale - Founder of Palantir and Addepar, Partner, Formation 8

"One of the most important ways a startup can get momentum, can breakout, and can thrive is through superior business development. Applied correctly, it is a strategic weapon that greatly increases the odds of success in startup. Great startups borrow credibility in the market from more established players, and this is done through top notch biz dev. In my view, every venture-backed start-up should have Bernie come in and mentor their executives. Follow his lessons and you'll double your valuation within 12 months."
Jim Armstrong - General Partner, Clearstone Venture Partners

"I've worked with hundreds of advisors as an entrepreneur and as an investor, and Bernie was easily the most valuable. He passionately evangelized the product and lined up key partnerships that we had thought were impossible. Bernie is the best at what he does."
Naval Ravikant - CEO, AngelList, Founding CEO, Epinions,Inc., Co-author, Venture Hacks

"Business Development is an art. It creates a vision of how the partners can effectively work together and then commits that vision to the canvas of successful implementation and enduring partnership. In my experience there is no better and no more prolific artist than Bernie."
Victor Doolan - Former CEO BMW USA

From the Inside Flap

Sumos vs. 800-lb Gorillas

Entrepreneurs and business owners alike constantly seek advantage over the competition. For most, "winning" means gaining market dominance, product superiority or increased sales. The stated goal is often to land "the 800-pound gorilla," the implication being that such a coup would alter the company's future. But is a gorilla the right target? Maybe not.

A gorilla provides power but has no "X factor" to accelerate market dominance. Instead, consider pursuing a "sumo," who is always focused on beating the competition and who leverages his enormous weight and muscle to force competitors out of the ring. The gorilla is raw muscle and can exert enormous strength but is not at all strategic. It is instinctive and lacks self-awareness, imagination, and independent will. The sumo, on the other hand, is interested in out positioning, outsmarting and even out psyching the competition, using all means available.

The Sumo Advantage provides the strategies and tactics to help you find and partner with sumos. If you are unaware of the distinctions between sales and BD, then your sales-only focus may be what is holding you back. Once you understand and really believe that sales and business development are very different functions, the sky's the limit on growth.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1474 KB
  • Print Length: 148 pages
  • Publisher: Momentum@Work Press (January 24, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00I0DJL0E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,000 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the must read BD book! January 21, 2014
Bernie Brenner has successfully done what no other book ive seen has been able to do- demystified BD and created a practical framework that is applicable across industries and verticles. Bernie's approach to BD is powerful and demonstrates his deep expertise earned over many years actually doing this stuff successfully.

The Sumo Advantage is so poweful that we recommend it to all of our portfolio companies.

If you are running a small company and are wondering, "How can I strike up a strategic relationship with the biggest players in my space", you have got to read this book.

Simon Rakoff
General Partner
Fortify Ventures
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FINALLY - A great book about real BD! February 12, 2014
This book is about business development - not sales. Far too many people confuse the two. As the author explains early in the book, "BD is the polar opposite of sales." If you want to learn how to become a better salesperson, how to close that big account, how to increase your commission check, etc., then go read Strategic Selling or Spin Selling or one of the ridiculous number of books on sales. But if you want to learn how to create and develop deep strategic partnerships that can utterly transform your company, then you need to read the Sumo Advantage.

As an early-stage entrepreneur, I've struggled personally with how to build initial momentum and credibility in the marketplace. How do you break into costly and competitive marketing channels when you have no scale? How do you get customers to buy from a company they've never heard of? Why should anyone pay attention to you?

In the Sumo Advantage, Brenner explains that one highly effective approach is to establish partnerships with big companies that have already solved those problems. Fortune 1000 companies are already in those marketing channels and already have relationships with all the customers you are trying to reach. So instead of trying to brute-force your way into a market where you're woefully out-manned, you can co-opt the strengths of those bigger businesses and make them yours.

Importantly, though, this only works if you bring equal value to the Fortune 1000 company. While your company may lack the resources, brand, etc. of the bigger sumo, your advantage as a small company is that you can act quickly and creatively and without the organizational baggage that often slows big companies down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The True Power of Business Development January 24, 2014
As a former Sales Manager, I viewed sales synonymous with business development. However, the Sumo Advantage outlines key distinct differences with real life examples of strategy rather than focusing on transactions. Most sales organizations stress the importance of always getting a yes, while in business development the goal is to not get a no. If you are looking for a true reference guide to shape and transform your skills, this book is for you. Bernie Brenner offers twenty plus years of his personal experience by securing and developing strategic partnerships with the country's top brands.

This book is a must read for professionals who want to build effective business development strategies through real life examples that work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of the Game January 23, 2014
When I was a teenager I read a book and it changed my life. The master of the game by Sydney Sheldon.
For the second time in my life I have read a book that will change my life. Brenner is the master of the business development game. His comprehensive understanding of how to change your company's attitude and relationships with other organization is simple brilliance. His focus on relationships vs sales and the strategies and techniques to achieve success are nicely laid out in this piece.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is in the "sales game" and wants to take their business or organization to the next level.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Step-by-step business development guidance January 21, 2014
Whether you run a small business or are head of business development for a Fortune 500 corporation, The Sumo Advantage can give you a big advantage in identifying, pursuing, and managing large partnerships. What I liked most about the book is how Brenner walks through the process of convincing a sumo to partner with a small fry. As a small business owner, I found this so helpful. Also, clarifying the difference between sales and business development was invaluable. Great book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Actionable advice and strategies to grow your business January 21, 2014
I have read quite a few books on strategy and business development. What I really like about this book is that Brenner provides actionable strategies that I can use in my job every day. I have already incorporated his 3-year agenda into my business planning, which has forced me to think more strategically about how to grow my business and my partnerships. Additionally, I always struggle to explain to my friends and colleagues the difference between sales and business development - well I finally don't have that problem anymore!

I highly recommend this book; not just for the entrepreneur, but for individuals in large companies that need to rethink the way they grow their businesses.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What is business development? Ask this question to almost any executive, and you'll receive varying, ambiguous, and elaborated answers that border complete "gobbledygook." Even in B-school academia, the definition of "business development" is equally inconsistent and confusing. However, finally, a sensible definition of business development is explained in a new book dubbed "The Sumo Advantage" by Bernie Brenner, a co-founder of TrueCar, and a well-known automotive marketing veteran.

Bernie explains business development("BD") as a tool to harness the power of a "Sumo" to springboard another firm's growth - that is, strategically partnering with an existing industry heavyweight to achieve mutual growth. He explains, in extensive detail, the roadmap to setting up a BD initiative and what to expect along the way. Bernie identifies forces of resistance, both internal and external, and the tried and tested methods to overcome virtually any issue. Bernie creates a platform, in a sensible and understandable fashion, for his readers to design, implement, manage, and ultimately benefit in sales and valuation from a business development methodology.

However, The Sumo Advantage isn't just a lexicon for business development; it's also an entertaining journey through Bernie's experiences in the automotive industry. Bernie explains that his BD strategies launched and secured TrueCar's initial growth, but also "saved TrueCar" from the challenges in 2011. Similarly, Bernie also explains that CARFAX's legally contested and exclusive agreements with, actually began as BD initiatives, that were largely responsible for CARFAX's rapid growth.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and Easy Reading
We were fascinated reading Brenner's the Sumo Advantage. My husband and his business partner have tried several times to partner with a sumo company in order to gain the... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Sylvia Bigit
4.0 out of 5 stars More than one way (and a better way) to accelerate your corporate...
So many business leaders focus on their value proposition and couple that with their desire to directly target the end user who will enjoy the benefits of the service of solution... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Jonathan
5.0 out of 5 stars The Quintessential guide to Business Development
The Sumo Advantage is the quintessential guide to Business Development. It is required reading not only for our BD employees, but also for marketing, sales, and everyone on the... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Jonathon Perrelli
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for b-school candidates and executives of companies of all...
The Sumo Advantage is a fantastic and informative book written by Bernie Brenner whom is a proven expert in BD.... Read more
Published 1 month ago by K. Mills
5.0 out of 5 stars It really helped me think clearly about best ways to approach building...
As a newbie getting into the world of Business Development, this book was invaluable. It really helped me think clearly about best ways to approach building out the BD strategy... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Scott
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book. Found it a little repetitive at times
Good book. Found it a little repetitive at times, and most of the advice centers around deals made at one company. Read more
Published 1 month ago by rickjames8
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for every member of our team.
This book has contributed to the growth of our startup more than any other book has. We founded our business development effort on the principles described in the Sumo Advantage... Read more
Published 2 months ago by David Wu
5.0 out of 5 stars best business development strategy anywhere
Recently, I was on a call with Bernie and was very impressed. He said "did you read my book?" I was a little embarrassed in that I had only read the first chapter. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Peter A. Phelps
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Great read for anyone who is solving hard problems and needs BD to move the needle.
Published 3 months ago by jjthaeer
1.0 out of 5 stars Truth in advertising? Maybe.
How does this book description claim to be "#1 Amazon Best seller"; the sales rank is 332578? Perhaps it was number 1 for a 'brief' time? Read more
Published 7 months ago by Tamza K
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More About the Author

Bernie Brenner is an expert in strategic business development and enjoys the development of new businesses and markets. He specializes in securing and expanding strategic partnerships and is a frequent speaker on business development (BD) to entrepreneurs and venture investors.

He is the co-founder and EVP of Business Development of TrueCar, Inc., a company focused on changing how cars are sold. Under Bernie's direction, TrueCar secured more than 100 BD deals, including partnerships with USAA, American Express, Geico, Nationwide Insurance, Consumer Reports, and AAA, generating over $100 million in annual revenue.

Bernie is also a partner at the Capital Factory, an incubator/accelerator in Austin, Texas, where he is a mentor to many early stage entrepreneurs. Previously, Bernie ran business development at Carfax, Inc., where he secured partnerships with Toyota Motor Sales,, and many other giants in the auto industry. He was the CEO of PromiseMark, Inc., an Internet security and privacy company, which he founded in 1997 by partnering with Symantec, maker of Norton Antivirus, and with Aon Warranty Group. He sold PromiseMark to a credit reporting agency in 2003. Bernie lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and three children.

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