Salesforce Trailhead: How two teams converged to blaze a new trail

Presentation Abstract

Doc and Marketing share lots of common goals like driving adoption and engagement with our product, the Salesforce1 Platform. A year ago, we got together to build Trailhead, a fun, interactive learning platform for Salesforce users.

Salesforce has been a DITA shop for 10 years, so the promise of reuse made a new deliverable sound simple. But it was more complicated than a few new DITA maps. Even restructuring and filtering weren’t always enough to make our existing content meet the requirements of the new format, and we’ll talk about why.

We worked on a very compressed schedule for our initial release, building both the app and the content in less than two months. Doing that required us to be agile, iterative, and most of all, collaborative. Trailhead’s success pushed us to continue to move quickly, cranking out more content and developing new features for the app.

The convergence of structured content and marketing automation also paved the way for cutting-edge personalized, dynamic, and targeted strategies for tracking and engaging our users.  Although our teams have very different styles and strengths, learning to make the most of those differences has been an enriching journey for us and our customers as well.


What can attendees expect to learn?

  • How the DITA promise of reuse did and didn’t work for us.
  • Why collaborative, agile, and iterative are so much more than buzzwords.
  • What marketing tools and techniques have helped drive engagement with Trailhead.
  • How our joint efforts allowed us to connect with our customers like never before.
  • Where we hope to go from here.

See for yourself at


Meet the Presenters



Kim Shain, Director, Platform Documentation and User Assistance, Salesforce

Kim has been a technical communicator for over 20 years, including writing and managing writers at Autodesk and Adobe before coming to Salesforce four years ago. She currently manages a team of 10 writers whose primary focus is developer documentation. When she’s not building virtual trails for the Salesforce community, Kim enjoys running and hiking with her family and friends on the many real and beautiful trails around San Francisco.



Lauren Grau, Developer Program Manager, Salesforce

Lauren has been working at the crossroads of tech and marketing for the past seven years, first in the nonprofit world at Global Business School Network in DC and then at PICnet in SF, before making her way to Developer Relations at Salesforce three years ago.  Every day she gets to think of new ways to help developers succeed with Salesforce.  When her head’s not in the cloud, she’s with her dogs exploring the endless network of trails in the Bay Area.


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