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Barbara Koontz

VP of Human Resources & Learning | Xerox Corporation

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How are CEB's differentiators valuable to you?

I have really appreciated being a member of CEB and I've been engaged in a of couple places, one in the human resources side but more specifically in our sales and marketing over the past few years and what I've really appreciated about this organization more so than any other is fundamentally first and foremost, you're about research, right? And really understanding how business happens and what makes successful business and sometimes what doesn't. And that's brought the real insight to us in Xerox and for me personally because that allows me then to really engage in a very different kind of conversation with our organization leaders about how our company can move forward and what we've learned from other companies in terms of best practices.

How does your organization utilize CEB memberships across functions?

Xerox Corporation worldwide and you know, I participate that as a member of the senior HR organization and we take our specials, who really dive deep into the work that you do and that frankly shapes many of our programs and processes we use throughout the company.

For sales and marketing, because I'm currently aligned to that operation, you know, now we're really focusing on very specific skill sets and really driving a very specific operation forward. They both inform each other but in different ways. So the HR things that we do are primarily focused on the enterprise in total and how everybody can benefit from that. The pieces that I've been doing with sales and marketing have been more specific to obviously those organizations that are comprised of sales and marketing both from an organization in terms of the group I support directly but then also really best practice sharing with other sales channels inside the company.

How do you derive value from your CEB membership?

This is an organization that brings us insight that otherwise we wouldn't have. So you give us access to research, to other people in business either in our industry or outside of it. And so the biggest thing you're bringing us is really unique ways of thinking and really being on the forefront of thought leadership and we appreciate that enormously.

The other thing is frankly, I love your personnel. I mean I love the staff that we work with. They're extremely accessible. They're very engaging. So we come with a question or a thought and we spend a lot of time kicking it around. And I never finish a conversation without believing that I've gained some insight on the basis of that engagement. 

Is CEB replaceable as a resource?

If we didn't really have an ability to participate with CEB — I mean there are a couple of routes you go. I mean your own personal learning and we do a lot of internal best practice sharing which takes you only so far. I mean third party consultants can be helpful to a point, my own personal network outside an industry. But honestly, I don't think there's a really great replacement for what CEB does for us.

How have you leveraged CEB's Anatomies impactfully?

One of the things I've really liked about CEB that we've used are your anatomies. You know, anatomy of a world class selling organization, anatomy of a world class marketing organization. We've actually used several of them. And frankly over time and as you know, I mean there's usually 20 to 24 components that make that up and probably on our own, we could have eventually figured that out but you made it real easy for us to identify and we resonated immediately with them. It allowed us to very quickly hone in on a couple areas where we're extremely strong that we need to continue to pursue that and exploit that and then places where we had weaknesses. And that really gave us insight of where to spend our time on that as well. So — and that we did — starting a few years ago and we visit those on a regular basis.

What results have you seen as a result of leveraging CEB's Anatomies?

One of the areas that we saw for example in the world class selling, anatomy of a world class selling organization was in coaching. And so we identified that a number of years ago and we actually did a number of interventions and we think we got better. It was actually only later when we were introduced to inside selling and Challenger that it really got to the specific of what we needed to do in the sales organization and that has made a huge difference in our company.

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