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Pitching and Closing: Everything You Need to Know About Business Development, Partnerships, and Making Deals that Matter (Business Books) Hardcover – July 21, 2014
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About the Author
Alex Taub is the cofounder of SocialRank, a tool that helps brands find out better information about the people who follow them on social networks. Alex previously led business development and partnerships for online integrations at Dwolla, one of the fastest growing startups in the country. Alex contributes to the Forbes Entrepreneur section twice a month.
Ellen DaSilva is a senior analyst of the business operations team at Twitter, which strategically targets revenue opportunities for -the company. Ellen's past positions include investment banking at Barclays Capital and financial planning at Hillary Clinton for President.
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Top Customer Reviews
That said - I'm a startup CEO and what I want to know is *how many* BD people to hire, and how to monitor their progress and how to know when to fire a poor performer and how to not get distracted by the latest shiny BD deal when really I should be focusing on the core business. This book is written from the perspective of BD people working their jobs - not business people trying to build a business with BD as one component of the overall picture. So . . . I'd like someone to write that book if not Mr. Taub.
According to the author, business development is less about 'sales', and more about forging new revenue streams by partnering with other businesses. For example, if you have a plugin for facebook that facebook can charge money for, you partner with facebook to get it in front of their users and pay them half of revenue. Other ways to partner are to make a product that saves the other company money, increases their productivity, makes their own product more sellable, provides more brand recognition, etc.
Most of the examples are web-based businesses - twitter, facebook, and other companies like them, but this can apply to anyone. Make a new widget and you need to make a deal with Wall*Mart, Target, or some other retail store to get it distributed. The author also discusses some traditional partnerships like an exclusive CD for a singer that goes in Starbucks, then also partnering with starbucks to promote concerts or dual-branding advertising, putting the CD on ads for starbucks "now in stores, pick up your copy of ..." (That worked great for a couple of years ... until it got over the top. You may remember all the biz media articles asking if Starbucks had lost it's way with too many tie-ins and not enough focus on making good coffee.)
It is in getting down the nuts and bolts of partnerships that the book loses it's way. In order to be good at business development you have to find who to partner with for your solution, then convince them. The author says this requires a combination of strategic thinking - as the businesses are puzzle pieces that will fit together - and social skills. But he doesn't tell you how to /*develop*/ those skills, or give meaningful examples of them in action.
Instead, we are walked through how to get introduced by social media, how to stalk people at meetups, and so on. The middle of the book is more than a bit of a slog.
The author tries to use big words to sound smart ("monetize", "utilize", anything that is a noun that can be turned into a verb by adding "ize"), and says "x is critical" a lot. Most of the advice is prescriptive - "just do this and you'll be fine, exactly as I tell you. Here is exactly what to type in your introduction", instead of explaining the consequences of the ideas, what personality types they will have what effect on, and so on.
There were a few nuggets in the book, like how to set up a leads spreadsheet - but it was slim picking. The best part was probably the interviews at the end with business development "rock stars" that talked about how they think and what they do. That part makes it worth two stars, at least.
Again, if you are a college student and want a reference on business development, or just starting out, you might check this out. Perhaps if you skim the text version you will find more value than I got out of the audio book. This book mostly focuses on definitions. If you want to see BizDev in action, consider an annual subscription to inc magazine, which is only five or ten bucks.
Note: This review was for the audio book, which I found slightly painful to listen to.
Aside from that the book is slow and redundant, with drawn-out stories that could have been reduced to short paragraphs. Really, truly awful. I find it hard to believe the positive reviews weren't all either planted (notice how short they all are, and say little beyond "The book is great!"), or are from other starry-eyed Millennials who think they're all going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg too. When the bubble pops, people will be laughing at the "wisdom" in this book.