What Can CROs Learn From Top Gun?

What is your company’s most valuable asset? Most CROs would say it is their people, and perhaps a very close second, their data. In an era of powerful AI and Machine Learning, your company’s data has the potential to add tremendous value and competitive advantage. But what if your most valuable asset is actually the combination of your employees plus previously untapped data associated with their performance and how they do their jobs?

That’s exactly what led to dramatic improvement in the armed forces flight training program, and which has the potential to forever change how sales managers and teams deliver top notch performance.

The Competition Isn’t Standing Still

Back in 2018, the DoD, and U.S. Air Force recognized that our armed service’s global competitiveness relied on its ability to keep pace with or stay ahead of the near-peer global competition. New and evolving technologies were eroding our advantages and putting us behind in certain critical areas.

At a macro level the USAF faced massive challenges meeting recruitment and staffing requirements, and meeting training cost, and quality goals. In addition, budget cuts were forcing tradeoffs between updating old systems, adding new infrastructure to drive efficiencies and adopting new technologies. The legacy approach wasn’t working and things had to change.

Leveraging AI: Sim to Learn. Fly to Confirm.

Enter the era of data-driven, top gun, AI-powered training.

The USAF knew they had to build more effective, less expensive, more scalable processes for hiring, developing, retaining ,and promoting recruits. Critical KPI ratios had to improve across the board to meet force readiness goals.

Their approach was to increase the effectiveness of training by leveraging AI and M/L to model top performing pilots aka Top Guns, and build training and feedback systems for instructors and trainees to use to learn from those fliers. A group of contractors, including Metacog Technologies (founded by Owen Lawlor, VP AI/ML at CoachEm), developed a new AI scoring engine for skills assessment, training, and human performance. This modeling created training systems that could improve pilot performance and teach best practices at scale, inexpensively to meet training and budget goals.

The technology instrumented training platforms to automatically throw off streaming data, including sensors such as EEG, heart rate, eye tracking, and atomic level process data connected to flight controls. This data was “fused” to the sequential path patterns of “Top Gun” performers as they performed maneuvers during simulated mission training. The system then created machine learning models of what constituted “good” performance for similar missions.

Instructors were able to use flight simulation platforms driven by virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to train and test new recruits and pilots. Training time was now far more in-depth, with less data fatigue, paperwork, and manual intervention, at a far lower cost than previous manual processes. Because the systems allowed them to give specific feedback and coaching scored and framed against best practices and Top Gun performance, pilot training accelerated and improved. More pilots successfully completed training. Costs dropped by over 60% and the shortage in pilots was reduced by double digits.

Imagine Your Sales Team With the Same Improvements

This is where we are at today. The competition isn’t standing still. Rep attrition is too high. Scaling top performers remains elusive. Participation and quota attainment is too low. But these things do not have to be this way. It can be better.

How? By using the untapped data surrounding sales reps and their performance, and instrumenting it into better tools for coaching and training the reps right at the front line, each day and every day. The technology that drove these revolutionary improvements to military training methodologies is available today to help your teams.

Companies who work with CoachEm see the same impacts, through more consistent, effective coaching and data driven 1-on-1s and team meetings. We leverage machine learning models that help you and your reps automatically identify drivers and inhibitors of sales performance, diagnose root causes, prescribe actions proven to improve results and monitor employee (and manager) performance.

Better coaching by better managers makes better reps and better sales outcomes.