A Lack of Numeracy In Sales? It Doesn't Add Up…


Author: Mark Savinson

Earlier this week, the UK marked National Numeracy Day. As the FT highlighted, there is clearly a perceived issue with our ability to handle numbers.


We’d all hope that sales people have basic numeracy levels - how else can they give a price, offer a discount or discuss ROI? But let's look at the reality.

How many understand the impact of discounting on margin? How many can describe the impact of moving to "as a service" on cash flow? How many know the difference between gross profit and net profit?

In many cases, poor numeracy isn’t the issue (remember – every phone has a calculator). The real issue lies in the application of the numeracy.

Quickly ask yourself - how many of your people can tell you what the impact on margin is when you typically have a 65% gross margin and you offer a 50% discount?

What about if you have a partner who gets commission on revenue and they continually offer 50% discounts, who does it hurt?

If you want to understand the level of numeracy in your team, create some simple scenarios and have a game at your next meeting to see how effectively your people use it. You may discover they can work out percentages and have good skills, but are lacking in business acumen to apply them effectively.

To get going, try our quiz yourselves.

It’s critical you make sure business acumen is objectively measured, alongside numeracy, within your competency assessment.

To get started and begin upskilling your team, get in touch

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