NEW Hero Conf Agency Growth Workshops: Q&A with Pat East and Jeff Allen

By Nate Hollander | @HeroConf | Senior Event Producer at Hanapin Marketing

Interested in attending a Hero Conf Agency Growth Workshop? Check out what Hanapin Marketing’s CEO, Pat East and President, Jeff Allen have to say about what you’ll gain from attending the workshop and what they are most looking forward to about Hero Conf.


What types of businesses should attend the Agency Growth Workshop?

Pat: This is for agencies that want to grow by 50-100% year over year, freelancers that want to turn themselves into an agency, and also any type of digital marketers whether they be involved in PPC, SEO or email marketing.


Who from those businesses should attend?

Jeff: It should be the executive leaders of the business, those who are creating the vision and strategy for the business as a whole.


What should attendees prepare for a workshop like this?

Jeff: Bring questions! There will be a good chunk of time for people to ask specific questions about issues they are facing. Others that are attending can likely learn a lot from these questions and it will also help us tailor the content to issues people are actually facing.


What’s the quick benefit?

Pat: People will learn about what has and hasn’t worked for us over the last 11 years in a practical way. You should be able to walk away with specific structures and plans to try, and some to avoid. You could save yourself $1300 by not attending but it is going to take 11 years to reach level of knowledge we’ll be able to share with you.


What are the long-term benefits of attending?

Jeff: I believe that by listening and implementing what we have learned you speed up your learning curve, which in turn will accelerate your agencies growth curve. You’ll also likely make some great connections since it is a small group of likeminded agency folks.


Why should people care about how they grow their business?

Jeff: You can grow your business accidently, haphazardly, or deliberately. Only the last path will result in creating the type of business you want, the culture you want and do so with the least amount of stress.


What makes the Agency Growth Workshop unique from the PPC Management Workshop?

Jeff: The 1:1 workshops are hands on in accounts. That’s more about how to drive more business from PPC. This workshop is about your business and how to drive more profit, in more sustainable ways.


Why did you decided to include this in the Hero Conf lineup?

Pat: Strategizing is something we do a lot of, and because of the blog and conference we get a lot of requests to talk through our key learning’s, mistakes and strategies. We thought it would be beneficial to us, and the attendees, to include a session like this. It also gives me a change to be more involved in conference, which is fun for me.


What makes you qualified to give high-level industry and business insights?

Pat: I founded Hanapin with $2,000 and we’ve been able to grow to a $4 million a year company. We’ve been profitable since inception, with no debt and no investors. We’ve had an economic incentive agreement, with which we met the employee count goal and total salary goal 6-12 months ahead of the timeline.We also acquire top clients such as Home Depot and REI.

Jeff: Qualified is a tough word. I am certainly still growing and learning and likely to make a lot of mistakes. I’ll speak from my own experience, be as honest as possible and hopefully you’ll learn a lot. We’ve done well for ourselves. Won a lot of awards like the Inc 5000, Best Places to Work, and Business of the Year. These are nice, and certainly reasons to listen to us, but also they were built on a lot of trial and error and not exactly a perfect formula.


What kind of insights can people expect on recruitment?

Pat: How to build a world-class team, when a majority of your hires don’t have expertise in the position you’ve hired them for; and also how to find those quality people in smaller towns like Bloomington, IN instead of New York or Chicago.


What will attendees learn about employee training?

Jeff: We’ll talk through our 10-week training program that has evolved over the past decade. We’ll give our specific methods, topics and how we get other people on the team involved in the training. This process takes people from 0 experience to account managers in 10 weeks and has produced people who with 2-years were recognized as leaders in the industry and eventually recruited by Google and Microsoft.


What insights can people expect on retention?

Jeff: We’ll talk about creating buckets for churn that include controllable and uncontrollable reasons clients leave. We will also give away our process for reviewing accounts that are struggling, doing internal audits, and the structure we’ve put in place to deliver world-class service.


What will attendees learn when it comes to marketing/sales?

Pat: How to build a company that is good at both lead generation and brand building at the same time. We make ourselves known in the industry through a lot of content marketing but we also generate a lot of leads. We are at good keeping our focus on both facets.


What kind of role you play at Hanapin on the preceding aspects (recruitment, training, retention, marketing, sales) as CEO/President?

Jeff: I help recruit by being a brand steward when out at industry events, I manage those who do the training, marketing and sales and thus my job is to make sure we understand what metrics we need to hit and ensure that the plans being put in place can get us to those metrics. I also spend a great amount of time with people within the organization, understanding their challenges, giving them hairy problems to solve, and coaching them through situations they haven’t faced before.

Pat: As the CEO my job is to set the vision for the company. So that means setting the vision for individual departments and working with Jeff to make sure those departments are executing that vision. For HR and marketing specifically, they report directly into me, so I have a more tactical role within those departments here at Hanapin.


What are you most looking forward to about Hero Conf?

Pat: Teaching other people what we know and giving them insights about their own business and also learning how other companies do business, and getting insights through teaching them.

Jeff: I love talking with the repeat attendees. Sometimes it is just catching up on what has happened for the last year, and others it is about how the conference continues to evolve, grow and cover new ground. It’s fun to be part of such a passionate group of nerds that all seem to love the same things I do (food, booze and PPC).

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to talk to these two and gain experience about growing your business.

Register for Hero Conf and the Agency Growth Workshop today!