How to Build a Lean Sales Funnel From Scratch

In 2014, I collaborated on and launched a premium mastermind program.

What started as just an idea several months prior culminated in a launch that brought in $40,000+ allowing us to fund our startup operation without a loan or investors.

In part 1, I wrote about “The Open Loop Product Development Framework” - a process I use to thrash an idea until it’s clear.

What exactly needs clarity?

  • what’s the goal of the business or project (impact, revenue, etc.)?
  • how will you find and reach your first 10 customers (and then first 100)?
  • do you have the resources to fund and create this?
  • can you launch this within 30 to 60 days?

“The Open Loop Product Development Framework” allows us to systematically find this clarity as we thrash and build out a basic (but useable) business plan.

The fundamental principle of “The Open Loop Product Development Framework” is this:

Great ideas don’t matter without great execution.

Next Step After You Clarify Your Business Plan

At this point, you have a clear idea of:

  • what you’re building
  • why you’re building it
  • and who it’s for

Now we need to focus on turning this basic outline into a shippable product.

This means:

  1. building the product (or at least the shell of the product or service)
  2. leading people to your offer
  3. getting people to pay for your offer (product or service)

In next weeks blog post, I’ll explain in more detail how to build a product wireframe you can sell on proof of concept alone (as well as how to sell it). Today, I want to focus on building everything around your offer - the stuff that determines if your product or service ends up a success or failure.

In other words: how to create a sales funnel.

How to Build a Lean Sales Funnel

In the following video, I want to explain to you, step by step how to build this sales funnel. Below the video you'll find additional notes and ideas on how to properly create a lean sales funnel.

Once you're finished viewing and reading, please leave a comment and let me know what questions you have about the lean sales funnel process.

Defining the Sales Funnel

Mattan Griffin, creator of the One Month Growth Hacking Course, defines the 5 steps of the lean marketing funnel as:

Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue.

Acquisition: get someone to your site

Activation: get this person to take action (free trial, newsletter subscription,etc.)

Retention: get this person to come back to your site multiple times (coming back to use their free trial, coming back through your newsletter, etc.)

Referral: get this person to spread the word, either directly or indirectly. For example: directly - word of mouth; indirectly - putting your logo on the software so when others see it, there’s a chance they’ll click on it.

Revenue: get this person to buy something (upgrade to paid version of your software, but your book, join your premium ecourse or training program, etc.)

These building blocks of the lean marketing funnel are also the building blocks of the lean sales funnel I built for our most recent product, and something I’m going to share with you below.

Avoiding Complexity in Your Sales Funnel

There are hundreds of ways to overdo the sales process online; all sorts of bells and whistles you can add to your sales page, to your advertising, to your product or service. You can spend months building “virality” into your product, weeks creating the best survey lead magnet in existence (been there, done that), or days creating the best graphics.

At the end of the day: all of this just overcomplicates things.

The success of your launch is dependent not only on the quality of the product or service and the effectiveness of the sales funnel, but how simple it is for you to manage the whole process.

Most product launch failures are “user-error” failures.

Simply put, the more elements or layers we add to the funnel, the more complex the system becomes. The ramifications of complexity:

Best case: you’ve designed a Rube Goldberg Machine.

Worst case (more often the case): it doesn’t work.

So what’s the alternative?

A simple sales funnel that turns visitors into loyal customers.

Enter: The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method

How to Simplify and Optimize Your Sales Funnel: The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method

The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method is a simple way to execute the lean marketing funnel explained above, but in this case: to launch a single product or service.

Instead of creating an overly complex funnel, The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method focuses on only the essential and removes waste in the process.

The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method is composed of three (surprise) key elements:

  1. One Lead Generator (the thing getting people to come to your site)
  2. One Splash Page (the page you lead prospective customers to)
  3. One Conversion Process (the way you turn visitors into loyal customers)

One Lead Generator

If you’re trying to create an effective sales funnel, it’s best to identify one way to generate leads for your product or service.

There are hundreds of ways to drive customers, but unless you’re working at a large company or have tons of disposable income, you’ll have to narrow and focus your efforts (this is especially true if you’re new to all this).

It doesn’t make sense to try to drive traffic from a podcast, Facebook ads, outbound marketing, and affiliates right at the beginning; much better to focus on just ONE lead generation source so you can get really good at it (as opposed to spreading yourself thin and creating a lot of things that don’t really work).

One Splash Page

All your efforts should guide people to one page.

One page.

Not two, or five, or ten; Just one (and no need to even split test this).

This page should be coherent with the message that drove visitors to it in the first place, and should also be coherent with the conversion process you’ll use.

So, for example: if you want to convert people using a sales webinar, the one splash page should be a webinar optin page. And the traffic that comes there through your lead generator should KNOW they’re headed to a place where they can opt into a webinar.

Being consistent throughout is clutch.

One Conversion Process

Don’t try to sell a product a dozen different ways. Just focus on one way to convert visitors into loyal customers.

In the webinar example, a sales webinar would be the conversion process...not a free ecourse, not sending them to a static sales page, but actually selling them on the webinar.

Examples of conversion processes:

  1. in person meetup or event
  2. phone or skype call
  3. live webinar with sales pitch at the end
  4. autoresponder with upsells
  5. static sales page

Note: a static sales page is probably the least effective at converting sales. I’ve heard from dozens of business owners with large audiences (10,000 + ) who have launched products or services hoping a simple sales page would convert sales, but ended up converting at less than 1% (less than 1% of 10,000 people = 100 sales...not very much at all for a list that size). Then, when they through a more active conversion process into the mix (live webinar, phone calls, etc.), conversion sky-rocketed.

So pick one to test it, and ultimately: the more personal, the better (more on this next blog post - sign up here to be notified).

Why The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method Works

First, because it focuses on growth and learning foremost.

If you’re trying a dozen different things to sell your product or service, how do you know what’s working or what’s not?  But if you focus on just one thing, you properly measure it, which means you can learn from it.

And learning inevitably leads to success.

Second, it’s manageable.

Like I said before - most launch failures are user-error failures. Often because of an overcomplicated launch process.

The key to The 1-1-1 Product Launch Method is simplicity. A single individual working part time can use this method and make it work.

What if I Don’t Have an Audience?

Now, this technique is based on the assumption you have an audience.

But what if you don't?

Well, you build one.

For us, that meant spending some money on targeted Facebook ads to build a list of 200+ before we launched our first sales webinar.

For you, it could be sharing your work with family and friends, with Facebook groups that might be interested, or using a tool like to spread your message virally (is that a word? it is now...).

So ultimately, you need an audience.

Good news is: it doesn't take much to build one.

(note: if you want more education on how to build an audience, let me know in the comments below and I'll go in more depth in a future blog post)

Next Steps

So what happens when we’ve built out your lean sales funnel and people start showing up?

You close the sale.

In the next video and blog, I’m going to teach you “The Coffee Is For Closers Technique” and specifically how we quadrupled industry standards with our sales webinars.

Check your inbox next week for the content and bonuses.

Oh, and if you enjoyed this article or this series, please SHARE!

Thanks in advance for your support 🙂

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12 comments on “How to Build a Lean Sales Funnel From Scratch”

  1. Awesome Tom.. you're right the production value is way up (not sure about the "better looking" part though). Nice to see you doing more of these. You're a natural.

    Great info. Valuable for anyone who sells.


  2. Always helpful, insightful material here.

    What I love w/ the teaching on this blog is the consistent frameworking of the ideas and right-brain orientation continually finds this extremely powerful.

    Now, while I know much of the material covered here - - and do it in my daily work but it's (so) easy to forget simple, important steps in the processes because of the nature of constant overwhelm in the life of a small business owner.

    I have a big 'ole file folder that I started a year ago called "TOM MORKES" with my print outs of the best posts here.

    I now have TWO folders.

    I like that kind of growth.

    1. Awesome Bruce! I'm very humbled by this...need to step up my game knowing this!

      glad you liked the video.

      let me know what else you'd like to see, or if you'd like me to focus on anything in particular.


  3. Yes, this video is very near perfect. I have more comments on YouTube and shared this back to our Flight Tribe for them to share. And yes, you should let your wife know she not only has a very handsome husband, you're very talented, inspiring, and more importantly generous and creative with your work. Looking forward to the next blog and your book.

  4. We follow the 20/80 rule which is very simple - put 20%efforts where you get 80%results. Startups cannot focus on too many things, therefore your concept of finding one lead generation channel is pretty much what we do too!