SUMOS vs. 800LB GORILLAS
Entrepreneurs and business owners alike constantly seek advantage over the competition when creating their business development strategy. 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 strategy and business development strategy can, and should be, very different, the sky’s the limit on growth.
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- You want to grow your revenue at a faster pace
- You want to add a sustainable, defensible and differentiating layer to your competitive market position
- You want to build great enterprise value
- You want to help your sales people close faster
- You want to assess whether your your partnership strategy is the right one
- You want to determine if you have the right people on your team
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I’ve seen these business development principals 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.
President, CARFAX, Inc.
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.
Former CEO, BMW USA
Intimidated by how to close those initial, foundational strategic partnerships? Feeling too small to close the big guys? I’ve seen Bernie do it repeatedly, building companies on the backs of these early strategic partnerships that everyone thought were impossible to get.
General Manager, BlackLocus, A Home Depot Innovation Lab
Bernie brings together the art and the science of being one of the most effective Business Development people in the automotive space. Business Development is about creating benefits for all parties in a manner that is consistent with each organizations strategy. Bernie is able to develop and articulate mutual opportunities analytically while focusing on building strong relationships.
CEO, Finance Express
The Sumo Advantage is an invaluable insider’s guide to structuring and executing partner relationships that can create substantial enterprise value for the long term. It is a must read for every entrepreneur in the 21st century.
Partner, Wilson Sonsini
The Sumo Advantage is an innovative and powerful approach to business development that can propel a company to greatness. For early stage tech companies Bernie’s philosophy on strategic relationships can pave the way for incredible success. This book is at the top of the recommended reading list for all of our portfolio companies.
Simon Rakoff, Ph.D.
General Partner, Fortify Ventures
True business development professionals know how to “connect the dots” in order to get things accomplished. Bernie on the other hand, has the unbelievable ability to line up “the BD dots” so everything points towards a mutually beneficial and successful outcome!
Managing Partner, FMC and McCombs Partners
Most executives I encounter think that sales growth is driven most effectively by marketing and or advertising. Wrong! Business Development is the key to long term value creation. Brenner lays out the principles, techniques, and processes of Business Development far better than any book I’ve ever seen. It’s simply a must read for any leader.
CEO, Route 66 Ventures
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.
Founder of Palantir and Addepar
Partner, Formation 8
Bernie runs business development in a way I haven’t seen before. I’ve rarely in all my time out in corporate America as both an executive and a journalist met someone with as much vision and talent.
Contributing Editor, Fortune Magazine
Former GM, Jaguar N.A.
Author, What Would Jackie Do?
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