Champion’s Spotlight

Get to Know Elsa Toutlemonde

Global Demand Generation & Account-Based Marketing Manager – Data Security, Thales Cloud Security



Elsa Toulemonde’s swift journey to become Global Demand Generation and ABM Manager of Data Security at Thales Group, presents a cut-and-dry case of leading through change. Confident in the benefits of Demandbase One™, Elsa has guided her sales team from a traditional lead gen approach to an Account-based Marketing (ABM) mindset. At Thales, Demandbase is facilitating a sea change to a complete Account-based Experience (ABX) strategy.

One might think that Elsa, a self-described introvert, would shy away from a leadership role. On the contrary, Elsa leverages the virtues of an “introverted” character to unify sales and marketing operations under one ABM umbrella. She listens deeply, is proud of her unshakeable commitments, and knows the power of a smile. Elsa relaxes by playing with her two young daughters, cooking, seeking exciting travel destinations, and singing in her choir.

Elsa is a natural fit as a Demandbase Champion because she loves connecting strategy to action and demonstrably proving the benefits of ABM to seasoned sales professionals. With great enthusiasm, she freely offers many nuggets of advice to ABM practitioners on how to upskill on the tool.

Want to know more about Champion Elsa Toutlemonde? Check out the full interview below.

Demandbase: Can you share a bit about Thales and any unique challenges you have running an ABM program there?

Elsa: Thales Group is a global technology leader with over 77,000 employees on five continents. The Group invests in digital and “deep tech” innovations – Big Data, AI, connectivity, cybersecurity, and quantum technology – to build a future we can all trust. I am more specifically part of the Cloud Protection Division of Thales, looking at our Data Security portfolio.

We began our ABM journey a couple of years ago, and this year, we regrouped our ABM functions into one global team. We are working daily to evolve how we think about the relationship between the marketing and sales departments that maintain a traditional, lead-gen approach but must now transition to a modern, account-based mindset. It is fascinating – and challenging – to deconstruct our ideas of what “good” looks like and build new understanding based upon the capabilities of ABM.

Demandbase: How did you hear about Demandbase? Was Thales already using ABM technology when you came on board, or did you help to bring in the technology?

Elsa: I first heard about Demandbase when I moved to an ABM role in the EMEA sector role in the spring of 2022. Our APAC sector had already been using Demandbase for a while to run targeted advertising but was not using the tool to its total capacity. When moving to my ABM role in April last year, I quickly became a Demandbase One™ super user, helping to optimize the platform to serve account-based goals, refining our keyword sets, journey stages, engagement minutes, etc. We also spent a lot of time sitting with the sales team to show them the power of account intelligence and ultimately, to get their buy-in with this transition to ABX.

Demandbase: Why did you apply to be a Champion?

Elsa: I have been a Demandbase advocate since day one at Thales. The platform has been so instrumental in driving change internally that applying to be a Demandbase champion was just the next natural move in my passion to spread the word outside my organization and help my peers if and when needed.

Demandbase: What have been the highlights of your career?

Elsa: Moving from a field marketing role into a pan-EMEA ABM role has been a real highlight of my career. Seeing from the inside how we drive change to an account-based approach is exciting. I love seeing firsthand how big of an impact we can make by speaking the sales team’s language. That has been a revelation for me.

Demandbase: What do you like most about your current role?

Elsa: What I have always loved about being a marketer is that you often are a connector in the organization. You are the person who puts everything together to translate the company strategy into compelling actions in close collaboration with so many different stakeholders, which holds more true when you are focusing specifically on ABM. Being constantly exposed to and connecting with so many different profiles and cultures is really enriching.

Demandbase: Do you have advice for other marketing professionals who aspire to become ABM superstars?

Elsa: I would say always question the status quo and identify your own biases. Walking in your customer’s shoes is not an easy exercise; it takes a lot of patience, empathy and the ability to shift perspective. When you manage an ABM system, change management is your top priority because you need to align the organization as a whole with new goals and language. It’s uncomfortable at times to ask people to think outside the box and move out of their comfort zones and also one’s own! Another piece of advice I can share is that if, like me, you are not a natural data ninja, then spend time understanding the different types of data at your fingertips. Learn what the data means and how you can make sense of it in the context of your work. Sit with people who can help you in that process, such as your peers in Marketing Operations or Sales Operations. Sneak in some Salesforce reports and dashboards to understand the logic. And lastly – prioritize! ABM can sometimes be seen as a magic wand by the organization, and even though it feels good to be valued, it can be a bit daunting because with great expectations comes an ever-increasing list of requests. You will need to sort these out. At the end of the day, you can only do so much, so you need a good balance between building towards long-term strategic goals and quick wins.

Demandbase: What interests do you have outside of work? What do you do to reduce stress?

Elsa: I am very busy running after my two adorable daughters. I find nothing like laying down on the floor to play with them to release stress immediately! You will also find me singing (I sing in a choir), cooking, or planning the next trip to an exciting place to visit.

Demandbase: What is something unique and unexpected about you?

Elsa: My family spans across the 5 continents! I am French and have been living in Spain for almost 14 years, my husband is from Peru, one of my brothers lives in Japan, and I have a few other family members coming from Africa and Oceania. We sometimes have 5 different nationalities sitting at the table during family reunions!

Demandbase: What is your superpower? What aspect of your personality helps you be most successful?

Elsa: As weird as this sounds, being an introvert would be my superpower! For an introvert, thriving in a world of extroverts is not always easy. I am learning to navigate the challenges an introvert faces, like speaking up in large meetings or making faster decisions. But most importantly, I have learned to embrace and love the beneficial dimensions of an introvert’s character. I am very self-aware; I listen carefully, and I meet my words and my actions. When I say something, I mean it. Also, I don’t mind remaining outside the spotlight, and I believe in the power of kindness: a smile can go a very long way.

Interested in becoming a Demandbase Champion?

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