Not every industry lends itself to social networking. Find out where you can get the most bang for your social-selling buck.

There are way too many people and “so-called experts” offering tips about social media. Then I met Kurt Shaver: He’s different. He has carried a bag, been a sales executive, and actually provides tips we can use. I never considered the active LinkedIn industries that mapped to my Ideal Client. I’m always learning—even when I’m writing about How to Attract Sales Prospects in a Tech-Focused World. Listen and learn:

“LinkedIn is a great tool for Social Selling. The large database (160+ M contacts) is good for identifying people that match your ideal customer profile. The social connectivity aspect leads to the all-important personal introductions or referrals. So, I was surprised when a top salesperson I know told me he did not use LinkedIn for prospecting. “Why not?” I asked. He replied, “Because my customers are not on it.” That makes sense. He sells medical devices and only a small percentage of doctors are on LinkedIn. So, what industries are best suited to benefit from LinkedIn prospecting? Here are three different industries that can benefit from LinkedIn prospecting for three different reasons:

1. Information Technology: Tech geeks like me were the first people to get LinkedIn accounts. I am a former software sales executive who just celebrated his 7th anniversary as a LinkedIn member. I.T. still ranks as the No. 2 industry behind Higher Education (which still baffles me). With a target-rich environment of over 10M members, technology salespeople can benefit tremendously from having a strong LinkedIn network and knowing the ins and outs of how to use the Advanced People Search.

2. Business Services: Industries like Commercial Insurance, Commercial Real Estate, and Business Banking benefit from the long-term payoff of a LinkedIn investment. Unlike the technology business where salespeople often switch jobs every 2-3 years, professionals in these industries tend to work in one area for many decades. Success used to be reflected by the size of their Rolodex and their book of business. Today, savvy Business Service professionals can accelerate their success by building long-standing relationships using LinkedIn – “the Rolodex on Steroids.”

3. Marketing and Advertising: Another one of the top represented industries, Marketing and Advertising salespeople benefit from the social aspect of LinkedIn news. Spotting trends and reacting quickly is crucial in this fast-paced business. LinkedIn features like Home Page Updates, Individual and Company Follows, LinkedIn Today, and Signal provide many was to stay up-to-date on news that is important to one’s own network. Some of the largest LinkedIn Groups are in this industry including the 428.507-member eMarketing Association Network.

These are just a few examples of industries that benefit from prospecting with LinkedIn. What industries can you add to the list?”

Kurt Shaver
is CEO of The Sales Foundry, a company specializing in helping B2B companies implement Social Selling strategies. To receive Social Selling tips and free resources including a 2-minute self-assessment of your LinkedIn status, visit or follow Kurt on Twitter at


Where Are You Digging for Gold? Comment

Prospecting doesn’t have to be a massive, time-consuming process. Social media provides a host of research information; referrals get you the meeting at the level that counts; and your sales and product or service expertise seals the deal. What’s your best prospecting technique? Which industry is best served by LinkedIn and the like? Comment here, and share the wealth.