For lack of enough participants, small benchmark surveys can only produce data by broad industries: manufacturing, healthcare, technology, etc. With hundreds or thousands of participants, like the benchmark survey of General Counsel Metrics, the more valuable analysis will go deeper than industries, to what are often called sectors.
For example, within the extremely wide industry called “technology” there exist sectors of biotechnology, communications, consumer electronics, computer systems, e-commerce, medical devices, semiconductors, and software. SIC codes would detail the competitive niche even more finely but many people who complete surveys do not know those codes. Sector analysis will let general counsel see how they match again closer comparables (See my post of March 2, 2010: industry benchmarks with 8 references.).