Case Study

Alation Gets “Invited To The Dance” More Often. Spins It Into 73% Pipeline Growth


Software & Technology

Company Size
600+ employees

Redwood City, CA

Demandbase One: ABX Cloud, with Personalization, and Advertising Cloud

In Nicole’s words…

Customer Success: Alation
Check out Alation’s journey (it’s pretty cool)

Top 3 Results

73% uplift in opportunities from previous year

Jumped from 0% to 25% of pipeline coming from outbound in one year

Being “invited to the dance” much more often

The Head Scratcher

When Nicole Kimmick, Alation’s Director of Account-Based Marketing arrived on the scene, Alation was relying almost entirely on inbound marketing — ironic because they weren’t exactly a household name. Though some of the largest companies in the world use Alation software and love it, as Nicole put it, they weren’t getting “invited to the dance” often enough. She wanted to change that.

Her charter was clear. She was hired to build an account-based marketing program and she would do that with two goals in mind: 1) reduce reliance on inbound and start generating outbound pipeline, and 2) increase brand awareness. She also knew from experience her program needed to be scalable.

She had one other obstacle to overcome. A giant siloed martech stack. They had loads of tools and data, including five intent providers, but no insights — another ironic twist, because they’re in the business of making it easier to use data. Nicole was determined to “drink our own Kool-Aid,” as she put it, and bring all their data together to drive their marketing.

"The Account Intelligence that Demandbase offers is second to none!"
Nicole Kimmick
Nicole Kimmick Director of Account-Based Marketing

What’d They Do?

The first thing Alation did was to build a custom ABM intent and data platform, bringing all their siloed intent data together, with Demandbase as their core intelligence. Adding their data to Demandbase Account Intelligence, they built custom scoring models pointing them to the best target accounts based on first- and third-party data, helping them identify who’s in-market and what they’re engaging with.

They now execute all their account-based campaigns through Demandbase One, each month dynamically adding “Platinum” accounts to their ad programs based on their scoring model. They also customize experiences for their one-to-one accounts in each of four industry verticals, using Demandbase Personalization. With better data, better targeting, and personalized messaging, they’re building brand awareness and driving pipeline growth.

Another critical piece of the puzzle was to get sales involved. Nicole had the foresight to know they’d have much stronger adoption and results with buy-in from sales and alignment across the full account-based experience (ABX). She taught the sales team how to build “outbound muscle” using Demandbase to identify anonymous web visitors and then engage them through LinkedIn Sales Navigator. They’ve had tremendous success with that and are now using Demandbase Account Intelligence to see what their accounts are doing, where they are in the buyer journey, what they’re engaging with, and how to personalize their outreach. It’s been a game changer and has cemented marketing and sales together across their entire go-to-market.

One of their Australian sales reps told Nicole that they’re “killing it” in Australia. He gets all of his opportunities through Demandbase. “It’s the engine that powers our account based experience program, and sales prefers to use Demandbase, anyway,” Nicole notes, smiling.

Looking ahead, Nicole has no shortage of ideas for getting the most out of Demandbase. She’s planning to build more customized experiences, use heat maps to form her content strategy, and study journey stages to manage pipeline flow. She’s integrating their chat bot into Demandbase One. As she put it, “We’re not just throwing a chat bot on our website, we’re building it into our customer experience — our ABX.” They’re tying chat to journey stages, industry, and personalization. And the ideas keep coming. “Every day I see something new that I can do with Demandbase and then it sparks other ideas and other ideas.”

Why Demandbase?

Alation already had Demandbase when Nicole joined the company, but they weren’t really using it. She could have switched to another platform, and she looked at a few, but she had worked with Demandbase in previous roles and, “When I came back down to it, I just realized that Demandbase is so robust and there are so many things that it can do. It met all my needs for where I want to go and provides growth for the future.”

The other big factor for Nicole is partnership. In her words, “You guys are a partner…like an extension of my team. It’s not even about a tool, it’s about having a partner that’s willing to work with you and understand your goals. I go back to my Demandbase team every week with a crazy idea. Can we do this? How are we going to do this? And they connect me with other people in the organization. That just happened a couple of weeks ago.”

How’d They Do?

With Demandbase One: ABX Cloud, with Personalization, and Advertising Cloud, Alation:

  • Realized a 73% uplift in opportunities compared to the previous year.
    This was the result of higher brand awareness and targeting the right accounts at the right time. According to Nicole, “When a target is in-market and they know who you are, it’s a much easier, more productive conversation.”
  • Grew from virtually no outbound pipeline to more than 25% coming from outbound.
    Alation did a smart thing by involving sales right off the bat, and they credit that for propelling much of their outbound growth — that and focusing together on Platinum accounts. Once sales was trained and using Demandbase One, there was no way they were going to be able to take it away. “They’re having so much success,” gushed Nicole. “The Account Intelligence Demandbase offers is second to none… there’s so much data that the salespeople can use to understand how to personalize and talk to their accounts…where they’re at, what people are doing, how they’re engaging with our marketing. It takes a lot of burden off marketing, because the Account Intelligence is all there and they can take that and run with it.”
  • Built a scalable ABM model right out of the gate.
    Alation has been thrilled with how Demandbase inherently scales. Every month they expand a little bit more. “I couldn’t have done it without Demandbase. That’s why I’m so passionate about it…it’s been a tremendous help for our business,” expressed Nicole.
  • Easy to tie activities to results.
    With ABM being fairly new for Alation, and now transitioning more to ABX, they appreciate how easy it is to tie results to their efforts. They can see which accounts are lifted and who’s clicking on their ads. And because their outbound efforts are targeting a very specific group of priority accounts, it’s easy to show the cause-and-effect of their account-based efforts.
About Alation

Alation is the leader in enterprise data intelligence solutions including data search & discovery, data governance, data stewardship, analytics, and digital transformation. Alation’s initial offering dominates the data catalog market. Thanks to its powerful Behavioral Analysis Engine, inbuilt collaboration capabilities, and open interfaces, Alation combines machine learning with human insight to successfully tackle even the most demanding challenges in data and metadata management. More than 350 enterprises drive data culture, improve decision making, and realize business outcomes with Alation including AbbVie, Allianz Global Investors, American Family Insurance, Autozone, Cisco, Draft Kings, Exelon, Fifth Third Bank, Finnair, General Mills, Munich Re, NASDAQ, Parexel, Pfizer, Salesforce, Virgin Australia, and Vistaprint. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Alation was named to Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces list three times and is backed by leading venture capitalists including Blackstone, Costanoa, Data Collective, Dell Technologies, Icon, ISAI Cap, Riverwood, Salesforce, Sanabil, Sapphire, and Snowflake Ventures. For more information, visit

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