GTM:Sales Funnel Design & Optimization


David Skok shares how to think like a customer
In this 20 minute introductory session, David Skok*, a partner at Matrix Partners, talks about how to design and optimize your sales funnel. This is a very typical startup challenge and involves you thinking through the TOFU (Top of Funnel) and MOFU (Middle of Funnel) steps. For example David teases out of the audience how to overcome your customers fear of dealing with a startup, enabling you to build trust and motivate them through from consideration to purchase.

One of the excellent principles David espouses is how to get inside your potential customer’s head, and think from their viewpoint. He then identifies how important it is to brainstorm and write down in detail what your customer might think at each stage of the sales cycle and show how you can really motivate each progression.


For those following the Startup Secrets series and reviewing Michael’s GTM presentation, this is very much consistent with thinking through “Driving to market” in the GTM presentation here – slide 58 on – where “Friction and Concerns” = “Brakes and Clutch” and “Motivations” = “Accelerators”.

David helps you to identify where your customer is in the buying cycle and think through how you will move them from step to step. For example he suggests looking for “Triggers” that cause your buyers to realize the need for your product and trigger them to move to the next step.

One of the key ideas we’ve discussed in the startup secrets GTM series is Results Oriented Measured Execution (ROME). But how do you get to ROME? In the GTM session, we discuss how the Web can change nearly everything… And so David offers some great advice of how to drive prospects to your website to capture their email and then track their actions on the site to realize where they are in the cycle, monitor their steps and conversions, for example from visit to trial.

By way of example:-

  • JBoss offered documentation as an incentive to get people’s email for follow up
  • Hubspot offered a free Website grader to drive initial interest and prove credibility

Finally David discusses the reality of uncovering blockage points in your funnel and how to use things like engineering of your product to address some of the likely blockage points. This is very consistent with a key startup secret we’ve discussed before called SLIPPERY products – briefly illustrated below and talked about in the Game Changing Business Models session.


In the video David discusses the example of Fetchnotes, who are looking to create a viral product experience, and needing to motivate customers to use a key feature (tagging) to get the benefit of organizing their notes.

Enjoy the video and slides below and as usual please give your feedback.

All of the above fit into the overall startup secrets sessions on GTM to be found here, where you will find context for the importance of building your sales and marketing machine. And note that in the limited time available for this session, David only covered a small part of his materials and more can be found on his site forEntrepreneurs here.

* Yes, David and Michael are brothers who shared many fun and challenging experiences together building companies in their early years as entrepreneurs