With the World Series underway, there will be lots of discussion about the coaching decisions of Terry Francona and Joe Maddon. Coaching and sports discussions just go hand-in-hand. Yet good coaching is just as critical in the sales realm as it is in the sports world.

In fact, a survey by the Sales Management Association revealed that implementing effective coaching programs optimized for quality and quantity can help grow revenue up to 16.7% faster. There are, however, some barriers to achieving effective sales coaching. For starters, many sales managers tasked with coaching are sales superstars who’ve been promoted to the ranks of manager but have never been trained in how to effectively coach. Nor do they have the time to really focus on it. A recent study showed that the current salesperson to sales manager ratio is 6:1, which may be why 77% of firms said they don’t provide enough coaching for their salespeople – a missed opportunity when you consider the potential revenue gains.

Essential to effective coaching is understanding the real-time capabilities of sales reps and customizing a program to focus on the areas where they need help. Traditionally, sales managers and leadership have accessed process-driven sales metrics and CRM data to understand sales performance but much of this is rearview data that doesn’t address the “human side” of sales. Now, new technology advances are giving more organizations the opportunity to apply data-driven sales coaching methods that address the capabilities of each sales rep – at scale.

Following are four ways that data-driven coaching can successfully impact a sales team:

Quantify sales rep capabilities – sales capabilities data provides managers with a true understanding of where each sales rep stands today, so that they can work to reinforce the skills and behaviors that matter most in the selling environment. Generic selling tips or techniques are not as effective as addressing the individual strengths and weaknesses of each sales rep. For example, one salesperson may be a terrific prospector with a strong early pipeline, but may require additional help with negotiation and closing to consistently hit quota, while another salesperson might possess strong selling skills but lack the market or technical knowledge to successfully win over customers. By focusing valuable time on the individual needs of each rep, managers can maximize their coaching impact and help each rep progress along their own personal development path.

Respect their time – systems that add time demands and distract from selling are a part of the problem, not the solution. Instead, organizations should look for systems that complement the way sales reps and managers work. Mobile-solutions that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time – whether while waiting in line for coffee in the morning, or commuting home on the bus – tend to drive higher engagement. In addition, a solution that takes a “minutes-a-day” approach is sustainable and will achieve results at scale.

Coach the coaches – it’s been well-documented that sales managers are often promoted from within the sales ranks and may have little insight into how to effectively coach their reps. Moreover, according to CSO Insights, sales managers report that fully two-thirds of the time they spend coaching their reps is focused on a single, specific opportunity, while only one-third is focused on overall skills development. Applying data to coaching establishes a culture where teams are guided by real-time facts, not hunches. In addition, it can be used to track the coaching history and effectiveness of sales managers, giving sales leadership the ability to view at a glance where and how to invest in sales coach development.

Identify rocket-boosters – industry analysts have called the human factor in selling the “rocket boosters” of any sales strategy. Through integration with CRM systems, sales managers can correlate ongoing sales capabilities data against KPIs such as pipeline, quota and win rates to assess the effectiveness of their sales teams in ways they can impact.

Too often, coaching is conducted simply “by the numbers,” neglecting to address the capacity of the sales team to drive buying decisions, which is a key factor in achieving top-line revenue growth. By focusing on the human side of sales acceleration and making coaching a priority, sales managers can improve the effectiveness of their coaching, and in turn, reduce staff turnover, improve quota attainment and drive business revenue. In other words, sales coaching for the Big League.