How people are buying has changed. The focus has shifted from the sales cycle, to the buyer cycle. Most organizations are so busy selling, they often forget to provide their potential customers with meaningful content. Meanwhile, buyers are getting fed up.

I picked up a few key takeaways -- like this one -- from David Meerman Scott at the 2015 MassTLC Sales and Marketing Summit that can help marketers create a better experience for the buyer and increase overall sales. Here are four areas I noted during David’s session that you should focus on:

1. Provide Great Content

As many of you know, great content drives sales and marketing. The most successful content comes from the top of your organization. Content creation and thought leadership should come from the CEO or CMO, not just the marketing team. And if adding to your content marketing team is in the cards, hire a journalist. You want people on your team who already know how to tell a good story that reflects your business goals. Great content can leave potential buyers wanting more and ultimately lead to more leads for your company.

2. Respond in Real Time

Communicating in real time is now the link between companies and customers. Typical companies only draw from experiences in the distant past and only plan for business far in the future. Few companies operate effectively in the present. Plan for now and react now, with immediate response to engaged users! If you respond in real time, you have a better chance of turning visitors into leads. Take what you gather from a visitors’ engagement and behavior on your site and respond in real time with targeted relevant content, messages and calls-to-action. The decisive advantage is speed.

3. Encourage Agile Selling

Being able to sell in the moment is key. A Harvard study found that responding to a lead within an hour increases the likelihood of it turning into a sales opportunity by 7 times. This speed and agility are the competitive edge you can have over other organizations. Marketers can drive customer engagement by personalizing experiences and drawing attention to relevant content for each visitor, in turn increasing engagement and conversions. Buyers appreciate companies who cater experiences specifically for them.

4. Be Human & Manage Fear

People often get hung up on being perfect. As a marketer, you need to take risks in order to see rewards. Being creative is what drives us. Use humor throughout your marketing practices and it may actually be welcomed rather than just received. Another way you can be more human is to use real people in your photos and not stock photos. People want to see that your company isn’t just a robot pushing out generic information. The more human you are, the more likeable you become. The biggest barrier to success is fear. If you have an idea, go for it!

Final Thoughts

As a marketer, being creative should be second nature. Although most of the above seems like common sense, we often overlook these basic fundamentals. If you focus on these four strategies, the results will surely follow. Most importantly, have fun and don’t forget to be human!