The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 10 months ago

Selling Shakespeare: How to Sell Anything With Interactive Content w/ Saksham Sharda


We're not in the information age anymore.

The co-founder of Wikipedia says we're in the "misinformation age."

Some people call it the "disinformation age."

Whatever term you prefer, we're drowning in static content, much of it's not true, and people aren't paying attention to it anyway.

To discover how to create interactive content that hooks the modern user, I turned to a man with a Ph.D. in marketing Shakespeare, SakshamSharda, CIO and creative director at

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How and why to create interactive content
  • Keeping it simple to facilitate the decision-making process
  • Effective ways to deploy interactive content

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:


This post includes highlights of our podcast interview with SakshamSharda at

For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.

We are not in the information ageanymore. I was on a podcast with the cofounder of Akipedia and he classifiedit as the misinformation aid you're. Listening to the BTB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast dedicated ELP, an executives train,their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're lookingfor techniques and strategies, ore tools and resources. You've come to theright place. Let's accelerate your growth in three two one: welcomeeveryone to the btob revenue executive experience. I'm your host ChadSanderson today we're talking about all things: content, most importantly,interactive content, everybody's living on the web, orhes living in zoom,everybody's, consuming things digitally, and so we want to see if there are waysto make them more effective, more interactive and to help us we have withUS Saham Sharda Creative Director at Outgro D, Co, that's outgrow, dot, CO,Saxrom! Thank you so much for taking the time and welcome to the show, thanks for having me a Chab excellent.So we always start with an ice breaker. I know on years you have that rapidfire list of questions yeah, which actually I'm probably I'm going. To behonest, I'm probably going to steal at some point Il credit it back to you, but it was somuch fun yeah that I thought you know what we should do. Something like thateventually as well, but for now I'm always interested in giving ouraudience kind of an understanding of who you are outside of the workenvironment, so really curious to know something that you're passionate aboutthat. Our audience might be surprised to learn if they only knew you throughdigital profiles and business types of things well to give a real shoker. Ihave a pht in Shakespeare and no you don't do you really. I do, but I'm notpassionate about Shakespare. The PGHD was mostly about Sivas Got MarketingShakespeare of films, so I was just trying to show in the paged how oldculture is really hard to market in a modern market, and what kind of youknow encumbrances at faces from like the state, the you know politics,because they want to preserve it, whereas it's not accessible to youngpeople, because you know no one really understand chackespening MOSO, Howto,even market, something like that. So yeah that's awesome. I was I was an Englishmajor as an Undergrad, and I had a teacher who I forget how many lines itwas we had to part of her stick was we had to memorize something like twohundred and fifty lines and reciteit back in fifty line increments, withexact pronunciation and tenation and wow that it left an impression? I'm not sureit's a great impression, but it left an impression that little experience on meas well so always always interested to find someone who's. Looking back at thesome of those classics and trying to make them more accessfubl, becauseyou're, right and yo h a lot of people who love sitting around listening toShakespeure Oday for sure and that's what got me into marketing in the firstplace, because initially I was just like this is not a cultural issue, asis everything in well. I don't Nan a capitalism, but in the modern marketit's a marketing issue. The fact that these Shakespeare films are notperforming well has got nothing to do with like culture or like popularculture or, like you know, not popular culture, but it's just pure marketing.So that's how I got into it so yeah and so that PhD led you somehow some way to outgrow DCO, so tell us about thatjourney. What we go from Shakespeare PhD to crave director at Outcro. Howdid that happen? Well, yeah, then, again, it's easy to hi Shakespeare Pgd,because that's like a good Choca that iul like II, but Yor markesing shakesSyar PAG. So there was already somethings happening and then I met afriend at Er bar and then he was just like. Oh so why don't you start workingfor outdrokes like because the idea behind the thesis was like verymarketing oriented, so he was really interested in that so inisty. I wasjust working like in social media and then we started like I starte doingother things, and then I went to partnerships and now, like I've, beenthere for like three years and I'm the...

...creative director, yeah and so for theaudience. Give us a little bit of background little bit of context onwhat it is that outcro cot does so using outgrow. Anyone can very easilycreate interactive content such as you know, contests Paulls, quizzes, surveys,calculators, ecomist, recommendations like you'd, see on Amazon, where theyask you a couple of questions and they recommend you particular sunglass thatyou can wear or particular makeup, Seid that you should apply, so you can justbuild that on outgro without you know, codes or developers. In addition tothat, you can also build assessments and chatbods to interact with Yorexisting customers and prospects, an an engaging rays. So so that's all that'skind of like the vide Gabit of what outgrook can do and especially for beto be businesses. I think it's rally helpful because, unlike BC, it's reallyhard for you to show what your long term value will be, because you're notactually handing a product to your audience or to your customer you're,handing them a service or something that's going to give long term valueand how you going to show them that, and you can do that using interactivetools that you know show their return of investment over timeinphographically in a graph. So you can do that. So I think that's whereoutgrow is very helpful, because I just think there's too much information outthere and it's really hard for people to buy from, like you know, be to becompanies and that's a lot. I mean that's a lot of things that you kind oflistit off there right. It's a long list of things that people ar spend alot of time and a lot of money trying to figure out how to put it together,not only to build it, but then there's the whole strategic part of it. Like doI need do. I have something: wmore, a calculator would be beneficial, or am Iin a place where Poles are going to be more effective when we talk aboutinteractive content, there's a whole bunch of different ways to kind ofactivate that word interactive. I'm curious from from your perspective andOutcros perspective when you're looking for I'm going to excuse the wordmondularizing and I'm not sure, that's the right one, but platforming thistype of content creation. What is it when you think interactive that you'refocused on is or specific outcome you're trying to get to or what's thatprocess look like well, so the basic interaction, I would say would be likeyou need to oppose it to something that doesn't interact, and so the basicopposition here would be static content. So you know you go on a website and allyou can do. There is just read like you know, paragraphs and paragraphs aboutwhat they do, what service they provide and that would have been fine duringthe com boom like when you know all this website started going up. Maybethat was fine back then, but then what happened? T as we are not in theinformation age anymore, I would like I was on a podcast with the cofounderofvikipedia and he classified it as the missinformation age and I think someoneelse as once classified it as the disinformation age, but in short, thelate part of the information age and the key thing hes that there is toomuch content, there's just too much content and add to that that, if it's true or if it's not true, itdoesn't matter, there's a general understanding that everyone has a shortattentions Pan, but thes side, gus, that everyone thinks they have a shortantention spand shot an the jus Spansar cool or that's where we're headingtowards either way. keything is tatic content applied with short attentionspans gives you, like. You know basically two seconds for wic someone'sgoing to be on a website, and if you don't capture, thei attention they'regone, so I think interactive content. What it does is- and this is why, likeI can't say, of all businesses in general, but what I'm trying to say islike if someone has a business in a particular industry, so I'm going togive you like an example, a short example. But but before I give theexample, key thing is: If someone has a business in a particular industry, theywould have the expertises to know exactly how they can use intractivecontent like I wouldn't even like...

...ther're no tips or tricks like theyknow exactly how to use it because they have the specialization in that feels.They know what four questions they need to ask their users in order to givethem personalized value within, like you know a minute, and so that is howyou can do it so for it, for example, say on a lawyer's website. The primaryculture action is just contact me right, so you're very less likely to click onthat, because there's like a ton of or the lawyers with the same informationand the same culto action now. Imagine there's a lawyer who's very well worsedand what he's doing- and he very well understands his clientele, so he putsso vidget on his website. That doesn't say contact me. Instead, it says seehow much I can save you in legal fees and then it asks a couple of questionstwo or three questions. He just needs because, because he's the expert inthis field right, he just ASO needs to lask a couple of questions that datahas taken in and a very valuable result is given either infographically or likein numbers or like in graphs. So you know so that is the value that's beingprovided. So that's how intractive content helps well and what'sinteresting is there's a key word there and that's valuable to the individualright, so the value becomes almost the hook. If you think about it, I needsomething from this person. It needs to be a demonstration of what they can doand or provide for me and as a result, that then, would hopefully increase. Myattention span. Not sure it always works, but that's the goal right is tomake sure so how you know when somebody's es an out outgo to they gointo the platform and they say: okay. Well, here's everything in front of meand it's like this. You know huge list of things that I could do here is doesThi. Does the platform actually walk them through kind of a thought processto determine? What's going to be most effective for them or do do you offerservices to help them get to that point? Wow, you just summed it up. For me allthree of them are possible, so we actually that's our strategy,there's all three possible. So if some so aone has to understand that it's adragon drob tool and what we're trying to bring- and this is the this- is thephilosophy that I have too because like people aljays like Oh, you should learncoding, because it's going to be helpful, I'm just like if humanity wasso good at coding, which it claims to be, they must have invented no codetools that allow you to code without coding and that's exactly what asoftware does to me. It's just like it's not important that you understandthat the internet or how it works for th. You know how to Code. All you needto do is to be an expert in your field. Like the lawyer told you about, or youknow the real estate broker or anyone. You need to be an expert in your field.You come an outgrow. You will see yourself getting creative because youhave no obstacles. If you want to start from scratch, you can go on the builder.You can start from scratch. If you don't have the time, then you can go toan examples, page and they're more than like two thousand templetes for twentyone different industries, and you can just pick a tamplet customize it. Youknow edit the colors. You know change the colors put Chelogon edit. Thequestions to add a question that you think is relevant or delete somequestions that you don't think are relevant and then put it on yourwebsite tested out. It doesn't work. It only took you an hour to actually takethis life, so you know it's. No, IT'S NO WASTE OF TIME! And third, if youreally don't have the time thet, we all to give you like a plan with which wehelp you out to build some things for yeah. It's totally possible all threeof them, and so I mean there's still a lot there that somebody would have toideally understand. I I'm curious, if you think about you, know, use theexample of a lawyer's ofvice, how how large up of an enterpriser organizationdo you feel like the platformis ready to be used by, because I think what Iguess, what I'm getting at is you think about a lawyer's office, all right,maybe there's two or three partners involved and there's, maybe some somelevel of approval and they probably the lawyers themselves, probably won't getwhat's going on anyway. So it's really going to be more to the marketingpeople, but it's a smaller team. Where that that thought process has to takeplace, you get into something that's a little bit larger, even smb and forget about enterprise. The decisionmaking process can become quite...

...convoluted. How does that does thesimplicity of the platform the dragon drops and the multiple options that wehave to put together? Does that actually facilitate a faster internaldecision process decision making process or does it make it morechallenging? Do you think and what size and what type of organizations do yousee kind of those breakpoints? So we have like huge enterprise levelcustomers as well. So I think the point is the software is very versatile, soit's totally possible for an enterprise to get on there and hasten its processof getting things approved while at the same time a smaller media business toget on there and have competitive advantage over an enterprise becausethey don't actually have to go through all those departments at all t. Soright, you know, one person can go on Outgro. He can make something he cantest it out for small IMEDIA business. They can totally do this and they'd betotally okay, but at the same time an enterprise Alton also has an advantage,because the key, I think one of the key issues is that you know there's toomany departments to go through right. The one youo there's too muchbureaucracy to get something approved tand. I usually use that when I go on,you know SNB podcast, to d to tell how Ourgra can help like youknow, take the help these people against enterprises, because they havetoo many departments to go through, but we have enterprise customers like wehave all sorts of like across the board, and I think in both cases it's totallypossible because we do comply with like all the data privacy laws. So and if anenterprise signs up, they don't usually just buy the plan, they have an optionto just like contact a sales executive and then they're just going through allthe processes required to actually like you know, implement this on the website.We've worked with National Geographic Weve worked with all sorts of bigwebsites, and you know I think it works for like across theBoad even for freelances. Well, I mean anything. That's going tomake. You know something simpler. I mean you're talking about a verycomplex topic. I mean t just the word content. Then you to the wordinteractive in the minute. You get two words strung together. People start tointerpret it in different ways and and depending on their experience level ofwar, their insight, theire understanding of how it all playstogether. It can be a bit overwhelming that simplicity to the user is notsimple to create right. It is one of those things where people think ohell.This is easy. It shouldn't cost much, but you have right. Simplicity is notcheap because it takes so much focus to get to that point. Have you seencustomers get to a point where they're I want to say: Maybe they have too manythings they can choose from, so they go a little bit overboard on the Hey.Let's try a little of this and a little of that do they get excited with howsimple and easy it is. Or do you find that they're a little bit more measuredand a little bit more strategic in their approach to us in the platformwe've seen like caus again, because we have like five different pricing tears,which would again be like something confusing right, because one doesn'tknow what to choose that. That's again, ver assaltware like as can be usedbecause we have, for instance, an idea generator on our website. So you don'tknow what you can do without gir, so you go on a website. The rigid asks youfive questions and then it tells you what you can do with outgrow. Similarly,any B to B business can use our grow to build a pricing plan recommender whereon their pricing page, they have a simple vegit that says not sore, whichplan you want to choose answer these few questions and then you know itasked two or three questions and then it recommends a particular plan. But ofwhat you're saying also about like you know how weave made it simple over theyears, because it's taken time because you know I getd like when I first cameto this company- I was just like yes, we you to make it simpler because theycou know it can be from within the field. It might seem that you know. Ohokay, we understand what this is, but from without the fear from outside thefield. It's probably very complex, but overtime they've, like one of thethings they've learnt us to like listen to customers, which I think it's not something you learned, but youshould obvious do so.

A lot of the great things that havelike the great ideas that have come have come from customers because, likeI, have some of the phrases in which a customof customer of ours described howintractive content helps his be to be business. So this is what he said,because I have this like for my podcast interviews. I keep these sentencesbecause this is the best anyone has ever described it. He said that be tothey can help you guide, outcrooken, ors, interactive content can help youguide clients through complex intaxe, br intake procedures at their own paceand in their own time, and also it can increase the time people spend on yoursite and give them a great user experience and use aflow like I'mliterally couting him here and then. Finally, he also said it can helppresent data in an ine inphographic way that helps it sink better intoaudiences. So you know this is all the things the software can do, and this iscoming from our customers. So tlike. You know yeah that I mean that's whenyou think about what it takes to create content in a way that it was also goingto be frictionless from an experiencal experiential standpoint right, becauseI've seen I mean we've all seen, websites where you go and it's it'slike you just accidentally, stepped into a slot machine. There's a littlechat box that pops up and then there's this like blinking like hey, Ocalculater over here and oh there's, this video running in the center of itand it's Very Justopian and its distraction and not particularlypleasant. So there's not only the strategic aspect of how do I figure outwhat creat interactive contents going to be the best for me, but then alsohow to deploy it and I'm curious if you've seen what ways you've seenpeople deploy it most effectively so again like we never encourage, likeyeah the the kind of De stopin website that you talk about riht. That's that'sterrible, like eaus. When I end up them just like why, why would they do thatpop ups, like not at all like? I would never encourage a pobub like it'spretty bad, but anyhow I'll, give an an example like if you go to Neel potelcomlike the first thing like is empty. Everything is empty. It's like theopposite of the DISTURBEO, describing everything is empty, but there's justone rigit that says check out. Ove suggests that is the key interactivetool that he's selling or that he you know, uses to help people. So so Ithink a lot of our clients have benefited from like having a verysimple minimalistic approach and just having one key vigit on their home page,because the point is, as people go through, these vigits like t like aparticular bidget or an applet, that an interactive, aplet or Vigit, they areable to be. You know sectioned off into where they actually want to go so thatVigis can actually direct them wher they want to go and it can direct themto some other part of your website. So you don't need to have like so may.Things happening at the same time and another thing that people can dowithout grow, which we have seen a lot of B to be businesses. Doing is rapidab testing like they do it all the time they're like let's abetest these twowidges to duplicate like if they build an intractive content piece theyduplicated and they make some changes. They test that out. They test this oneout, they see which ones better and they can do all of this through theanaletic section of outgrows o they 're able to see which one performs better,because it's just so easy to deplicate them and to see which one performsbetter, and this is much better than you know. Just having sixteen visits onyour website, you know just have one but make sure it's the one that won thewhole competition and Wel aby testing is one of thosethings. I think more people should be doing more of right. We have thetechnology, you Kno, that's at least one thing: the technology is good at soso like let's Abe, testit and figure out what works, because really it's ifpeople lose sight of the fact that the tech things like ab testing, are therereally to drive wor accelerate personal connection, but I want to givesomething somebody something that's valuable to them to potentially get toa situation where we're having a conversation. That's ideally invastmajority F cases unless it's a transactional type of website thatthat's where we want to go especially... to be right and have thoseconversations the tech can make that happen faster. If you don't hide behindit or if you don't get lazy with it, and I have I've seen too many instanceswhere, for reasons that I can't comprehend, people aren't takingadvantage of these different ways of determining what is going to be thebest possible experience for your prospects and our customers throughtheir entire buying journey, and I think then coming up with a contentinteractive content strategy at each stage. Somebody who's, maybe not aware,and not interested in what you're doing? How do I attract them? What'sinteractive, what can provide to them to increase their awareness of us andnow, okay, now they're aware of us, what can I do to get them engaged in alittle bit deeper conversation so that maybe that awareness turns intointerest? And now I get them to you know the top right of kind of anempathy map which is, you know, hey. I want high interest highwareness nsomebody who wants to do business with me approaching that content strategy,that's a big ask for a lot of people and so curious if you have any bestpractices or things that you would recommend. Aside from you, know,simplicity, Andave, testing, things that you've just think people aremissing that are really obvious, easy fixes. But what I feel is like ecause,because my answer to like not because I'm being paid to do it because to me it's just like it's notthat interacted, because my answer to like this entire condury would be againinteractive content like you know, I would come back and say. Oh, the answerto this dilemma that the users facing is again interactive content becausebecause this entire process can be stream lined by just understanding that,between the eight types of interactive content that you see on a website likea quiz, a calculator, a pole, an assessment, a Chatbot, AF, formorsurvey and ECOMMIST recommendation- I don't know whether I've taken the namesof semen. I just did it from my memory, but but and there's an eight thecontest. I think these are eight fundamental. I think these are. Theseare based on eight fundamental marketing. I would say instincts sousing either one of these or a combination of these. I think theseproblems can be addressed, and that is my answer to it, but repeat thequestion I I'm like that Ono! No! No! This is great. Sthis, O fun right,never know where, where it's going to go, the t e. The curious thing for meis like when you think about those kind of best practices in those thoseapproaches to not going overboard, because I mean I'll be the first personto amit. You give me a dashboard or a dragon drop in her face and I'm like aKidin candy store, not necessarily good thing, I'm going to have a sugar rusheventually and get annoyed, but I'm going to look at all these things I canplay with, but staying in the mindset of I have to think about the journey.My prospect and or buyer is on. That also is allends through which we haveto ensure that the content we're producing is valuable at differentstages in their journey and I'm curious having not seen not having that seen a platform. Is itbroken up into hey? We would recommend these types of interactive content forsomebody you're trying to attract this type of content, you're trying to getsomeone. You know a little bit deeper and is it segmented that way? Are therethings that work better at each of those stages through the buying journey?Okay, I see what you mean but yeah again, because I lost track of mythought earlier. But yes, so the eight kinds that I was talking about wouldwork in all these situations. But yes, if you do go on our website and youdon't know what to do like so safe, for instance, olbe to be business ants togenerate leads, whereas another one wants to just qualify leads, whereasthe third one wants to just segment leads and then there's a fourth onethat that just wants to reactivate all leads right. So if you want to do anyof these four things, you can just go on a website and there is a vidgit outthere that lets you pick from these...

...reasons. Like you know one of thesereasons, and then it recommends a particularl intractive content to you.So it is actually a part of our onboarding. So it does ask is becausethe whole onboarding is interactive, so it actually asks you what you want todo. Do you want to increase engagement with your prospects? Do you want toeducate your prospects? Do you want to Gameify your website? You can actuallydo all of this, so it's totally possible to actually segmentit further.But what I was trying to say earlier was even in all these cases, what weare still using is eight fundamental types of interactive content, which wesometimes mix together to make something more complex and and but butwithin these Aigd, it's totally possible to to do all of those tepsthat you're talking about yea, excellent, excellent, all right. So,let's Change Direction here, a little bit. We ask all of our guess kind oftwo standard questions at the end of each intervie as a creative director.That means your prospect for a lot of people out there. So I'm sure there area lot of people trying to get your attention always curious to know. Ifsomebody doesn't have a trusted referral into you. Somebody says heyhere: You should talk to this person. What works the best for you whensomebody's trying to capture your attention and earn the right to time onyour calendar. HMM, so I think the shortness of the email would bereally helpful. The shorter it is the more likely I amto respond. I think that would be a key thing and no, I think concisness then I would saynot just tha, shortness buth, the conciseness. So if you get the ideacross in maximum two lines, because because I am going to have someone doresearch on you anyway, but like if you just get the idea cross to me in twolines without telling me too much about your company, I don't really need toknow. I just need to know. I just need. I just need to know the name, becausethen we will have someone to research on it all you have. I think that wouldbe the key thing, the conciseness of the approach yeah. I love it love Iit's all, and you know what concises takes time: A lot of people just aseyto open up an email and throw up in there and hopes that it hits. You knowsomething connect. So I think it's very important for people to spend spendtime to show the respect for the individuals theyre prospecting to and maintain that conciseness, execute thatconciseness. It does make a huge difference, all right, so last question:We call it our acceleration insight. There was one thing you could tell:Sales, marketing or professional service people, one piece of advicethat, if they listen to you believe, would help them achieve if not exceedtheir targets. What would it be? And why? Okay, so the one piece of advice whichI think a lot of people are already doing, because the economy is didriving us towards it by itself, and I think, that's collaboration. I thinkcollaboration is key to what your product was meant to be. It's not meantto be a product, it's meant to be a service, and when you start looking atservice is not just you're, not just providing service to one person butyou're, providing him all the kinds of services possible in the entirespectrum of whatever you know so, like you know, if you have a another anotherperson that you know who you can collaborate with in order to help yourappliant andother company, you can collaborate with in order to help yourplant. You should probably collaborate with that company, so I thinkcollaboration and looking at what you're selling as rarely a service,truly a service and just trying to help the customer is the one advice I wouldgive, and I think this is something you talked about on my point becauseI'm just like wher did, I think of this troubl was it from you. It may have been so it sounds. But it'sI mean it's. I think it's a great concept. You know in general right it'sjust there's so many so many people, let their brains, get filled up withcrap, instead of being thinking creatively and thinking with precisionso I' I just all all of it is goodness in my opinion. So if a listenersinterested in talking more about these topics, we're learning more about youor outgrow where's the primary place,... want us to send thim website. Youwant linked in what works the best. Well, they can claim a special couponcode for Oudgrov with a twenty percent discount if they just go to outgrodotco forward Btobr, it goat, Co forward, Sbtobr Yeah Nice all right. Well, youheard of there everybody Te go, get you twenty percent, an give it a shot. Soos.My Kin't think you enough for taking the time 's been an absolute pleasureto talk to you get and have you on the show, thanks for having Rehad all right,everybody that does it for this episode. You know the drill be to be revizeccomfriends, family coworkers. Let your kids listen to it. Instead of watchmore screen time, they don't need it until next time we wele show nothingwith the greatest success. You've been listening to the BTOBrevenue executive experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you somuch for listening until next time.

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