Marketing Gets Real Episode #4: ‘Spiese-ing’ it up

His last name is literally pronounced spice, so you know right from the start that Ricky Spiese has a real zest for life. He’s also a born storyteller, a kick-ass marketer … and he’s freaking hysterical!

Ricky started out as a sales development rep (SDR) when he discovered that entry-level marketing jobs were nearly impossible to find. But he didn’t give up on his passion. He eventually moved to what he calls “the cool table” and led channel and partner marketing for Sage Intacct, creating winning programs that remain in place today. Now, he’s six months into his newest gig as Partner Marketing Manager at Terminus. And while he looks eternally young (and he is!), he’s also seen it all.

He brings such a fresh perspective—and so many killer stories—that Cari and Dana couldn’t wait to hear what he’d say on Episode #4 of Marketing Gets Real. Let’s see what savory tidbits he had to tell us:

“I’m trying to make phone calls and — boom! — a dart hits my face!”

When we say Ricky has seen it all, we weren’t kidding. He even has a “war” story from his SDR days. “Yes,” he says, “I remember getting hit in the eye with a Nerf gun right after LASIK surgery — ouch!” He shares this whimsical true story to make a crucial point: If you’re in marketing, don’t underestimate your SDRs, Nerf guns and all.

Yes, SDRs have the reputation as being entry-level children, he says, and sometimes they get treated that way. “But one of the best pieces of advice I was given as a marketer was to sit among the SDRs and listen to their phone conversations,” he says. “There will be shit you hear that you’ve never heard before, and you can use that to your advantage.” 

The takeaway: By removing the stereotypes, getting into the weeds with your SDRs and understanding their challenges, businesses can create true sales-marketing alignment.

“This person’s ego was so big, he didn’t go on mute.”

Being a channel marketer means having lots of conversations with partners as you try and guide them to marketing success. But not all partners are ready to listen. Ricky recalls a call with a partner that nearly made the list of Most Embarrassing Zoom Moments. 

“I was trying to say, look, this is what you need to do to be successful, and it was like a scoff here and a scoff there,” Ricky says. “It became apparent he didn’t realize he wasn’t on mute.” So, Ricky took charge. “I’m like, ‘I can hear you in the background and it sounds like you don’t agree with me on that, so tell me what you’re thinking.’” Then he heard crickets!

The awkwardness led to a learning lesson: Not every partner may want to hear from you, so you’ll need to get the right decision-maker on board with you. “I eventually had to get buy-in from the executives above me and say hey, why don’t you jump on this call with me so you can back me up a little bit,” Ricky says. 

“What is Ricky smoking?”

That’s the response Ricky jokes he would’ve received from his CMO had he approved every request for market development funds (MDFs). But the reality is that partners do talk among themselves. So, if a partner marketing manager approves one MDF request, does that mean he has to approve all similar ones?

It’s a question that Ricky tackled straight on. He used the “playful banter” among partners to his advantage and created some friendly competition for MDFs using what he calls a bandwagon approach. In this clip, Ricky shares this clever strategy:

Whether you’re competing for MDFs, looking for more insights into channel marketing, or just want to have a flat-out fun time, you’ll want to hear the rest of Episode #4. You’ll learn about the “oh shit” moment that still gives Ricky webinar nightmares. You’ll find out why Ricky’s French bulldog just might need a CPAP machine. And you’ll learn how to drink a mimosa in the morning and not have that afternoon headache. Don’t miss Episode #4. And subscribe now for more tell-it-all conversations with marketing superstars.