Enrollment is Closed for the July Cohort

Scroll this page for general information about the program and start considering and planning to enroll in the January 2021 session.

 

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Account Executive Academy (June Launch)

Enrollment closes June 26th

In this six-month program led by industry expert Jenn Walsh, Account Executives collaborate with peers nationwide to enhance their client leadership skills and maximize their impact within their firms. 


 Now more than ever, it's important that Account Executives feel invested in, supported and equipped to lead clients through chaos. We'll get started in June, tackle core components July - September and stay connected (and learning) throughout the 4th quarter. 

Ready to enroll?

Control

Minimize the distractions that are obstacles to doing your best work and are adding extra stress. The Academy's simple tools will emphasize your talents and clarify what's getting in the way of your priorities.

Confidence

Identify unique strengths and try new (easy) techniques to shift how you're working internally and externally. You'll work with peers on common AE confidence speedbumps. See the FAQs for details.

Clarity

Finish 2020 relieved and with a clear vision of your role in driving profitable growth for your firm. You'll be positioned to lead your clients into 2021 with renewed enthusiasm and increased decisiveness.

"I highly recommend this program to all who are ready to challenge themselves regarding the way they are leading and serving their clients. Jenn Walsh is innovative and clear in her guidance on creating control and clarity in our roles and responsibilities as account executives. I’m grateful to have been a member of the founding group!"

Amy Hansel
Account Executive, IMA (Denver, CO)

"Jenn is a game changer...period. My time with her made an immediate impact in my daily mindset and focus. She pours herself into her clients and has a knack for helping you re-frame your communications unlike no one I have ever come across in my 20 years being in a competitive sales role and seeing the full spectrum of trainers and coaches. Jenn just gets it. She gets your business regardless of the industry. She gets people regardless of roles. She truly is the 'consultant whisperer' if you ask me."

Christy Powell - Sponsored her team for the first AE Academy
Vice President, IMA (Wichita, KS)

"It’s a work in progress, but the coaching sessions have been transformative, and I am much more prepared to strategically position ideas and concepts in a way that empowers leaders within my client organizations."

Todd Lewis
Account Executive, IMA (Wichita, KS)

"I feel empowered to have open and honest conversations with clients and colleagues. It's made me more confident in my consulting. It opened some doors that were jammed shut!"

Vanessa Keith
Account Executive, IMA (Wichita, KS)

"THANK YOU! I was hesitant at first (and busy with 4th quarter), but I'm incredibly thankful for the way you've shed light on my position and brought humor/human connection. I loved using the Zoom meetings. It honestly helped prep me for the current situation!"

Beth
Account Executive Academy Founding Member (Michigan)

"How would I describe the AE Academy? It's a group discussion of ideas and ways to overcome hurdles created by clients that we all face, no matter where we work or how big the clients are."

Erica LaBarreare
Client Service Executive, Sterling Seacrest Partners (Atlanta, GA)

"I really liked the confidence and clarity modules the most. Made me push myself out of my comfort zone to ask questions I normally wouldn't and to approach things with a different thought process. "

Ann
Account Executive Academy Founding Member (San Antonio)

"It allowed me to see other ways of doing our job. Others in the Academy shared some great ideas that have allowed our firm to look at other options we had not explored before."

Jennifer
Account Executive Academy Founding Member (Texas)

How the Account Executive Academy works...

The typical Account Executive is already stretched-too-thin. Time is their most important commodity and it won't be wasted here. Breakthroughs will happen, but this is about practicality and getting big returns with the least amount of stress and effort.

  • 30-minute onboarding call in June with Jenn Walsh to privately discuss priorities and preferences for maximizing their participation.
  • COVID-19 will heavily influence this cohort as the group learns together how to lead and serve clients virtually. The same client service "playbook" will not be as effective in this different business climate. Strategy meetings, renewal discussions and open enrollment meetings will be important topics covered.
  • Content will cover the wide span of traditional issues on an AE's plate: client management, internal operations/specialty resource management, resolving conflicts and navigating new buyers.
  • Content is a blend of self-paced work and scheduled group calls. It can be tackled at a steady pace or in chunks if "Netflix binging" is more your style.
  • Group Calls will be recorded so it's not another "have to" on the calendar. Audio only files will be available like a podcast.
  • Spotlight coaching calls will allow an AE to receive 1:1 coaching. It's recorded to enable others to watch (and learn) from the replay. This was a key component of the founding group that had the most impact.
  • Positioning "new entrants" with innovative benefits solutions to your clients.
  • Bonus New Business module: This module focuses on getting referrals, collaborating with producers and engaging prospects with confidence. While the AE doesn't identify as a "producer" they're key to helping their firm acquire new clients.
  • Bonus Social Media module: Optimizing LinkedIn profile
  • Scroll the FAQs below for more detail.

The modules and coaching calls are stored on a secure portal that may be accessed from a desktop or mobile device via the app.

 

Curious? Here's what I've been asked (so far).

It varies by organization. In yours, it may be a Senior Account Manager, Client Executive or Consultant. While you participate on teams trying to acquire new clients, you don't have a sales goal.


In the founding AE Academy Group there were wide differences between years of experience, book sizes & complexity and technical expertise. 100% of the AEs discovered that they were usually dealing with many of the same fundamental client issues.

The ideal participant has 5+ years of experience, is a high performer and is considered a leader (or emerging leader) within the firm. I use the term Account Executive, but know that in some firms this may be a Senior Account Manager, Client Executive or Consultant. It's unlikely that you have sales/revenue production goals. You may be a little bored, burned out, fatigued or feeling helpless. 

In the founding AE Academy Group there were wide differences between years of experience, book sizes & complexity and technical expertise. 100% of the AEs discovered that they were usually dealing with many of the same fundamental client issues.

You might be thinking this is only helpful for AEs "new" to the industry. It was a great surprise to see how open and engaged industry veterans were to the AE Academy.

  • 30% had been at their firm 10+ years
  • 35% had been an AE for 10+ years

From one veteran...

"I've been waiting for something like this. Usually they only do "real" training for producers."

Founding members understood the mechanics of the employee benefits business...but over half were new(er) to this role without much of a roadmap or training.

The program is designed to increase performance, retention and engagement. It was originally based on Jenn's 20%BY2020 framework in which stakeholders are challenged to be intentional about their time investment.


Monthly activities and group coaching calls are supplemented by recommended podcasts, books, and expert interviews to support the themes of the course. Optional small groups will be launched for comradery and support.

The initial founding group of 21 Account Executives (launched October '19) have heavily influenced the upcoming content. While I’ve developed a framework based on their feedback, we're in unchartered COVID-19 times. Everything we tackle will align with current business conditions. 

I'll do pulse surveys monthly to gain feedback and guidance on the group’s priorities. 

Most Account Executives don’t have the opportunity to network within the industry like senior management does within CIAB, NAHU, WBN, Assurex, BAN, etc. lt can even be difficult within your own organization. I know from personal experience that gaining the perspective that every firm is “going through something” is a relief. This will not be a gossip or bash session. Hearing others ask questions about their obstacles will demonstrate that your firm isn’t the only imperfect one. 😜

This will vary by person and by firm. For some it might be that it’s enough to get a dose of optimism and tangible evidence that you’re appreciated. For others, it could be asking a large client for a raise or showing up more senior and positive within your office (even virtually). For others it is finding the time and enthusiasm to help win a new client for the firm.

You'll end the program with clarity, renewed enthusiasm (grounded in reality) and empowered to lean into the work that interests you. Optimally, you'll be well-positioned to define what you can “do more of” i.e.…gain more technical expertise, add additional clients, manage direct reports, take the lead on an initiative.

  • I'm wondering how much longer I can keep at this and feel stuck and exhausted from the non-stop running on the hamster wheel.
  • I feel so stuck in client work that I can’t find time to get ahead and do innovative things for my clients.
  • I hate the idea of discussing or negotiating our fees or scope issues with my clients.
  • I'm frustrated and can't figure out how to have productive conversations with Producers so we can "say yes" to new business that's a good fit for our practice.
  • I'm overwhelmed with client work so I can't help the practice in other ways like specializing, becoming a subject matter expert or helping “level-up” others who are newer to the business.
  • I respect my Practice Leader and know that they're busy, but I'm frustrated there's never time to plan ahead with those of us who are higher performers.

The focus of the program is to optimize performance for growth. That may mean creating capacity, so you can bring new clients to the firm. It also might be that we unlock capacity so you’re able to say yes to a new client irrespective of who is bringing them into the firm. There will be an ongoing focus on up-leveling new business skills, so you're prepared on LinkedIn, are asking for references and are confident and ready to help close at a finalist meeting.

I hear you. That's the big issue we're tackling here. While I'm empathtic, I know from my experience within a firm, as a coach and having facilitated the first AE Academy that there is a big reward in exchange for investing time with this group.

I'm aware that many AEs feel overwhelmed and fatigued. I'm constantly thinking about how to make content, discussions and the technology as easy as possible.

I've given this A LOT of thought as I've tested different models with my clients. For sustainable results, "slow & steady" are key themes when we're asking busy professionals to integrate new ideas into their routine. Carving out big chunks of time in 30-60 days isn't practical and would be a wasted investment. I fully expect that engagement will ebb and flow for each person as "life happens" throughout the program.

June: We'll be getting up and going

July - September: Core Modules

October - December: We'll use 4th quarter to practice and keep learning as a group

Absolutely. There's space for all personalities in the Academy. During the founding session, there were some Account Executives who were initially cautious but over time realized that everyone was working on something. 

There's quite an emphasis in the Academy on each person leading with confidence, even quietly. 

In the founding group we had Account Executives in every time zone and from very different firms. 

I've tested the model...this works for big firms, small firms, public, private and across the country. The mindset of the leadership and participating Account Executive is the most important factor.

The mood will be influenced by Jenn's point of view that this is a great industry that is filled with opportunity.

We can acknowledge the challenges within the industry while staying focused on optimizing personal performance. It’s possible to do great work with less stress and some humor. 

We’ll use the terms Bob, Betty and the oh-so-original “ABC Company” when posing questions in a group setting. If/when engaging with me directly, it’s your choice whether to delve into specifics. Any information shared will be treated with strict confidence.

Yes, have the carrier contact me at [email protected] or complete the form below if they are sponsoring either all or part of the training. I can invoice them and issue a coupon to you to provide an AE to enroll in the course.

You'll have to check on your internal policies for learning & development. I can provide a receipt and will include whatever detail is required to expedite the approval and reimbursement process for you if the automated receipt isn't sufficient.

Credit card or PayPal:

$1,500 registration fee + $545/month July through December. ($4,770)

Invoice (check or bank transfer):

Single $4,500 (due 7/1)

Split $4,600 - $2,300 (due 7/1 & 9/15)

Yes. When a firm enrolls 3+ AEs, they'll receive bonus group coaching sessions with the AEs and others (managers and/or colleagues) based on the topic requested.

I guarantee that AEs who even modestly engage in the program will get results. I routinely ask for feedback and encourage participants to let me know if there's anything getting in the way of their engagement. If the answer is that they're "busy"...well, that's why they're here and we take a pause and figure out how to make it work!

I'll refund 100% of the fee if an Account Executive fully engages during the first two months, provides feedback and still finds no value. 

As part of the onboarding process, we'll identify the manager and/or Practice Leader sponsoring an Account Executive for the Academy. They'll receive a monthly update on the prior month's themes and agenda for upcoming modules. These are meant to be a conversation starter with their Account Executive to have them identify what they're gaining from the program.


Jenn's accessible at any time if an AE wants to walk through a scenario with Jenn and their practice leadership. This did happen from time-to-time in the initial group.

Of course. Let's find time to talk. No pressure. This isn't like a timeshare presentation! 🤦‍♀️ 

The next group is onboarding in June 🎉

Deadline to enroll in this cohort is June 26th

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Jenn Walsh

AE Academy Founder & Facilitator

If we haven't met, here's the short story. My accidental benefits career began 30 years ago in the career placement center at UCLA. You can explore the full journey on LinkedIn. Today I help employee benefits executives and teams get unstuck. Once we shift the work, we focus on growth (and minimizing stress) with candor and a dose of humor. 🎉 

Connect on LinkedIn
 

Not sure if this is a fit? Let's chat.

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