Paul Bell, Former President Dell

Enterprise Partnerships

Paul Bell is currently an Operating Partner at Lead Edge Capital. Paul served as a senior operating executive at Dell from 1996 to 2012, where he developed and deployed business unit strategies that helped the company grow from $7 billion to $60 billion. Before joining Dell, Mr. Bell was a strategy consultant at Bain & Co. from 1990 to 1996, leading engagements in technology, logistics, consumer products, retail, banking and insurance.

Best Practices for enterprise partners

  • Be clear about goals and what both parties want to accomplish
  • Small companies often focus on distribution opportunity brought by an enterprise without considering potential relevant disconnects.

Considerations when partnering with large enterprises

  • Key to get outside counsel on enterprise’s history and initiatives
  • Enterprise may not be trying to drive value proposition the way a small company might think
  • Important to address specific milestones and deliverables for both parties
  • Power of the enterprise needing you
  • A small company fares best when it can provide something that’s a fundamental need not only for the enterprise but also for the executives in the room

Finding the right point person

  • Important to build relationships with people beyond business development – key to connect with counterparts who have operating responsibility

Considering the enterprise company perspective

  • Best relationships happen when small companies provide more than just financial gains
  • Signaling is a key component – partnership with a small company can demonstrate innovation as core to the leadership’s vision of the company
  • CEOs of younger companies help expand the leadership’s network and knowledge