We constantly keep an ear to the ground to identify top trends, best practices and solutions that are relevant for our portfolio companies and the general entrepreneur community. Norwest recently hosted an event that addressed the biggest challenges in Demand Generation, bringing together top industry pros who shared their hard-earned knowledge of how to build an effective demand gen program, including the importance of hiring the right team. We’re excited to share some of those insights with you today.

According to recent research from MarketingProfs and The Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 88% of B2B marketers and 76% of B2C marketers are using content marketing as part of their marketing mix. CMI’s research additionally found that lead generation (85%) and sales (84%) are the most important goals for B2B marketers for 2016. Given the importance of content marketing to demand gen efforts, it’s not surprising that creating engaging content (72%) was cited in CMI’s same B2B research as the top priority over the next year.

So how do you go about building a strong team of demand generation and content experts to reach your sales goals and business objectives? You have several effective options: you can recruit from within, network with industry experts, and seek out niche consultants for specialized projects.

Recruit from Within

Chances are you already have folks with strong content and demand gen talents within your organization. Look beyond your current marketing team to departments throughout the organization to see if you have talent looking to add variety to their workload or make a carer chain. Consider letting them try on the role as part of a stretch goal, without having to commit to making the leap to the marketing team full time. This is an especially effective way to retain high performing employees within a small organization, by providing the opportunity for them broaden their skill sets.

Keep a Lookout for Passionate Industry Pros

When you’re ready to add a full time headcount, but don’t have the right internal resource for the job, look to the up-and-coming influencers ruling your industry Twitter chats and hosting live streaming sessions from industry events. They are living and breathing the content that’s engaging your audience—find out how you can harness that enthusiasm for your team. This may take the form of contract, project-based work, or creating a role tailored to a combination of their unique skill set and your organization’s demand gen needs.

Know When to Call in the Experts

Although you’ll want to keep as much of your demand generation brain trust in-house as possible, it’s important to know when to outsource a project to the pros. Consider hiring specialists on a contract basis for specialized projects such as SEM/SEO, CRM integration and graphic design. It can also be advantageous to work with external content strategists and influencers on co-created content to leverage their distribution network, and grow your audience.

Ready to get started growing your demand gen team? Check out our infographic below, inspired by our recent Norwest Venture Partners Demand Gen Summit, for the five team members you need to guarantee your success.

Click the image below to view full infographic.

Demand Gen Infographic teaser

Content Marketing Institute. “B2B Content Marketing 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America”. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/2016_B2B_Report_Final.pdf. Accessed October 16, 2015.

Content Marketing Institute. “B2C Content Marketing 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America”. http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/2016_B2C_Research_Final.pdf. Accessed October 16, 2015.

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