John Marcus – Creating Viral Sales Channels That Work For You

John is the CEO of Bedrock Data, an enterprise-class data management platform.

Today I’m going to talk about viral sales. Viral sales isn’t about gimmicks or one-time growth hacks. Viral sales is about extending your reach.

As the CEO and only sales person at Bedrock Data, I haven’t been focused on building an outbound or inbound sales team. With viral sales, I can go beyond the 100% I’m capable of. I can extend my reach with viral sales and do more than I could possibly do in a single day or week or month.

So what is viral sales really? Viral sales is a focus on three things: mechanism of action, host identification, and vectors.

1 – Mechanism of Action – the mechanism for action is the thing that happens from an input that makes the outputs possible. Aspirin is a good example. The mechanism of action is the active ingredient in aspirin that makes your headache go away.

You need to think about what the mechanism for action in your business is. For sales people, we’re inspired to sell more to win more money. Selling more and earning more money is a mechanism of action that will inspire your sales people. What we need to do is ensure that we – 1 – shorten our sales cycle, 2 – close bigger deals, 3 – close more deals faster.

2 – Host Identification or Host Range – you need to identify businesses that have a negative cross elasticity of demand for your services. Negative cross elasticity means that your two services go hand-in-hand. For example, hot dogs and hot dog buns. The more hot dogs you sell, the more hot dog buns you’ll sell.

To be a viral salesperson, you need to identify the host range or businesses that are complimentary to your own. These people will sell your service for you because your two businesses compliment each other.

3 – Vectors – vectors explain how you are going to infect or infiltrate the businesses you want to sell to. For example, you could find a sales rep that is doing well in LinkedIn and directly connect to them. Help them to shorten their sales cycle, close bigger deals or close more deals faster. By providing them with a mechanism for action that is effective, you will help them and enourage them to talk about your products with others.

When I sell for Bedrock Data, I help businesses I work with get the info that they need to sell better. I know that these salespersons are sharing Bedrock Data with their prospects and that we get more leads and exposure as a result. This social vector for selling is extremely powerful and allows me to extend my reach.

So, the big conclusion here is that if other sales people like your product and find value in it, they’ll sell it to others. This is why white papers and co-marketing can be really powerful. Share what you’re doing well with your customers and encourage them to share it with others to develop your viral sales.


Sales Hacker Conference is a meeting of top sales execs sharing the unique sales hacks they’re using to attain nine figure revenues in B2B sales. Sales Hacker Conference was held on April 24th, 2014 at SPiN in New York City.

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