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One of the most common mistakes technology companies make when devising their go-to-market strategy is to rely on their technology to make the sale.

Marketing staffs litter collateral, web sites and salespeople's brains with endless recitations of the features, functions and internal maturations. And aside from satisfying a buyer's final technical sanity check, specifications matter very little--even to technologists.

Here is one of the great truths behind selling technology products in a B2B market: You will have many buyers involved in each sale.

When your salesperson walks in the front door of Transglobal Amalgamated Conglomerate Ltd., they will encounter several different people who influence the decision to buy your product. Most of these people will have either absolute or functional veto power. If you fail to sell to each influencer, then odds are you will not sell that customer.

For several years I have been inserting a borrowed biology term into the marketing lexicon. That word is “genotype” and in its biological sense is defined as:

gen•o•type ('jE-n&-"tIp) n. The genetic makeup of an organism or a group of organisms.

The marketing definition for “genotype” is:

gen•o•type ('jE-n&-"tIp) n. A category of person, often identified by job function or title, that contributes to the decision to buy your product.

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Guy Smith is the founder of Silicon Strategies Marketing (www.SiliconStrat.com), a marketing firm that specializes in strategic marketing and market development for technology companies. Guy has a background as a technologist for NASA, McDonnell Douglas, and Circuit City and remains active in technology, primarily within the Open Source community.