A Passion for Teaching and Sales
PROVO, Utah – Feb 25, 2022 – After retiring from a long career in sales for startup software companies, Greg Zippi knew exactly what he wanted to do next—teach. Zippi, who has had a lifelong passion for teaching, decided he wanted to share all he had learned from his career with the students at the BYU Marriott School of Business. Zippi is now in his fifth semester as an adjunct marketing professor at BYU Marriott teaching a sales course he created.
After graduating from BYU in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in English, Zippi went on to teach history and coach basketball at the high school level. During his time as a teacher, many of Zippi’s friends were getting their MBAs at BYU Marriott and would have Zippi peer edit their papers. “It wasn’t long after I started editing the content of their papers that I decided I should go back to earn my own MBA,” says Zippi. In 1983, Zippi graduated from the BYU Marriott MBA program, where he has focused his studies on finance and marketing. After working in finance for a couple of years, he found his way to sales.
A few years into his new career, Zippi was recruited to enter the software industry by his friend Gary Kennedy, who was then-president of the software company Oracle. Kennedy was having difficulty finding someone with experience in sales to work in Oracle’s sales department and convinced Zippi to take the job in 1986.
After working at Oracle for four years, Zippi moved on to work for several more startup software companies, including Omniture, which was eventually bought by Adobe, where Zippi became vice president of sales for the visitor acquisition product line. After three years at Adobe, Zippi left to continue working for more early-stage software companies. “Over the course of my career, I discovered that I felt more comfortable helping grow software startups,” Zippi explains. “I realized early on in my career that I wasn’t a software salesperson; I was an early-stage software sales person. Thankfully, I happen to live at a time in history with a ton of software startups.”
Once he retired from working full-time in 2019, Zippi approached the Department of Marketing and Global Supply Chain at BYU Marriott to pitch his idea of creating a course that focused on business-to-business (B2B) professional selling. “At the time, the marketing program didn’t really have any B2B sales-specific courses, and after having to learn sales by trial and error myself, I wanted to help students get a leg up.”
Being the professional salesperson that he is, Zippi sold his idea to BYU Marriott and now teaches Marketing 422: Advanced Sales. “My course is based on research in both selling and psychology,” Zippi says. “Too many sales trainings are people saying, ‘This is how I made sales, so you should do things my way too.’ That just doesn’t do anyone any good. You have to teach the research and evidence for why a technique works.”
Interacting with and getting to know his students is Zippi’s favorite part of teaching at BYU Marriott. “I love being around young people who have their whole lives in front of them,” he adds. “They all have dreams, and I love supporting them and teaching them ways to make their dreams happen.”
Zippi and his wife, Patricia, whom he met while earning his MBA at BYU Marriott, have five children and eight grandchildren, with their ninth grandchild on the way. When Zippi is not spending time with his family, he is creating an independent online certification course that will be a more in-depth version of his current classes and will be available online for anyone to take. For Zippi, being a professor and creating the online course are more than just hobbies, they are what keep him young. “At my age, I have to always keep my mind going,” he says. “Teaching and creating classes keeps me young.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Bethany Benham