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Calculating the Success of a Channel Incentive

Posted 12th January 2023
kick-ass incentives


Calculating the success of a Channel Incentive


Incentives are commonly used in the technology channel to boost sales and enable teams to be more successful in their selling efforts. The success of these incentives is dependent on many factors, but the key element is to set measurable goals before your incentive begins.

Without goals how do you know if your incentive has been successful?

These goals need to be SMART:

  • Specific: targeting a particular area to improve
  • Measurable: you need to be able to quantify and indicate progress
  • Achievable: Can the goals set, be achieved
  • Relevant: Are the goals relevant to participants?
  • Time-bound: specifying the period in which the results can be achieved

Once you have established your SMART goals you are set to begin the planning as to how your incentive will achieve them.


The next element is data. Without data, you won’t be able to measure progress during the incentive or the results. It is paramount to the calculation of success that you have the means to collect the right data during the incentive and have a clear picture of the data at the start of the incentive so you can assess the difference the incentive has made.

As discussed in our other blog “How to ensure your incentive doesn’t fail due to data”, the importance of data is often overlooked and incentives fail because of factors such as:

  • Data exports have incorrect filters applied resulting in the wrong data being supplied
  • There are missing fields
  • Missing data sources (where multiple data sources are needed)
  • The data isn’t accessible
  • The data is hard to extract
  • The data is late impacting updates to your participants and potentially causing them to lose interest

By checking all these things thoroughly up front, you will have the correct data to measure the success of your incentive against its goals.

What to Measure and the Sources of Data

Channel incentives primarily Incentivise sales activity, marketing activity or the enablement of sales personnel. In many instances the sources of data or the means of capturing activity are already present, however, in some instances, it isn’t. In those situations, you will need to create the means of capturing data as part of your incentive. Here are some examples of incentive activity and how you would capture the information:

ActivityData SourceIncentive TypeKey Information to capture
Closing dealsCRM system e.g., SalesForce, HubSpotSalesDeal Reg ID, Deal Value, Close Date, Product, Sales Person, Customer, Company
Registering new dealsCRM system e.g., SalesForce, HubSpotSalesDeal Reg ID, Deal Value, Close Date, Product, Sales Person, Customer, Company
Booking meetings or demosNone*SalesContact Name, Company, Job Title, Date, Sales Person, Product
Making a sales call, or sending an emailNone*SalesContact Name, Company, Job Title, Date, Sales Person
Booking trials or test runsNone*SalesContact Name, Company, Job Title, Date, Sales Person, Product
Launching a marketing campaignNone*MarketingCampaign Name, Date, Results (Clicks/Opens), Sales Person
Generating a business leadNone*MarketingContact Name, Company, Job Title, Date, Sales Person
Achieving a training certificationTraining database exportEnablementCourse, Completed Date, Sales Person
Attending a training courseTraining database exportEnablementCourse, Completed Date, Sales Person, Attendance %
Attending a webinarWebinar attendee exportEnablementWebinar Title, Completed Date, Sales Person, Attendance %
Watch a training videoTraining database exportEnablementTraining Title, Completed Date, Sales Person, Viewing Time %

* Unless supported by your Partner Portal or CRM. If not an alternative data capture method is required such as the creation of a data capture form or portal.

Using Excel to Analyse Your Data

Inevitably there will be a point in your incentive when you find yourself deep in an Excel spreadsheet. It is one thing to have all the right data but another to be able to analyse it to get the required insights. Often you will have multiple data sources that need pulling together into a single report, and to do this requires some skill and expertise within Excel.

Some useful Functions when Combining and Summarising Data

Below are the most common Excel functions we find useful when analysing incentive data:

VLOOKUP(): VLOOKUP is a vertical lookup and is the key function you need to use when you are looking up a value from one worksheet to another and returning a value from the same row. For example, if you have two worksheets and the common column between the two sheets is a contact’s email address you need to pull across the contact’s full name from one worksheet to the other.

Simplified, the VLOOKUP function looks like this:

(What you want to look up,
where you want to look for it,
the column number in the range containing the value to return,
return an Approximate or Exact match – indicated as 1/TRUE, or 0/FALSE).

Or in the real world it might look like this:
=VLOOKUP(A2,’Other Sheet’!A:C,3,FALSE)

UNIQUE(): UNIQUE provides you with a list of unique values from a list of values where there are likely to be duplicates. This is particularly useful for webinar attendance exports where a person has joined the webinar more than once i.e., they appear in the list multiple times. Another scenario is where you are using a sales report which has a breakdown of products within a deal, and you, therefore, have several duplicate Deal IDs and need a unique list of them.

The formula is simply:

=UNIQUE(range) e.g., =UNIQUE(A2:A3000)

IF(): The IF function allows you to make a logical comparison between two values and then return one thing if the comparison is true and something else if it is false.

For example:

=IF(B2=”Yes”,”Green”,”Blue”) if the contents of cell B2 are “Yes” then the formula will return “Green” and if not, it returns “Blue”.

COUNTIF() and SUMIF(): Both statistical functions either count or sum the cells in a range which meets the criteria.

For example:

=COUNTIF(B:B, “Red5”) this counts the number of times “Red5” appears in column B.

=COUNTIF(B:B, A2) this counts the number of times whatever is in cell A2 appears in column B.

=SUMIF(B:B, “>=1000”) This sums everything in column B that is greater or equal to 1000.

=SUMIF(B:B, “France”, C:C) This sums everything in column B where the country “France” appears in the same row in column C.

Calculating Success – the Temporary and Longer-lasting Impact

Working out channel incentive success is about more than just seeing if you have met or exceeded the goals set at the start. You may have exceeded the sales targets, but does that mean the incentive was a success? Here are some factors to consider:

  • Did the incentive meet or exceed the initial goals?
  • Were these the right goals?
  • What did the participants think of the incentive?
  • What did the stakeholders think of the incentive?
  • Will the participants engage in the next incentive?
  • What is the impact of the incentive on short and long-term business goals?
  • What difference has the incentive made?

Getting feedback is key to establishing the success of your incentive. By capturing feedback, you will learn:

  • The likelihood of stakeholders putting forward a budget for future incentives
  • If your incentive has triggered an impact, for example, stakeholders might decide to run the incentive in other regions or through other teams
  • The likelihood that participants will sign up for the next incentive and if they will tell their colleagues about it
  • If it has increased the awareness of your brand and products amongst your channel and the wider audience

The feedback in combination with the incentive metrics will give you the insight to plan your next incentive. For sales incentives in particular your information will help with sales forecasting and for planning for the next period.

If you need help running your next channel incentive and are keen to make it a success, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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