Managers often think they have a good handle on who their best customers are. But the truth is, their intuition is often at odds with reality, says Jonathan Bein, senior partner of Real Results Marketing. Managers often think they have a good handle on who their best customers are. But the truth is, their intuition is often at odds with reality, says Jonathan Bein, senior partner of Real Results Marketing.

The problem is that "intuition is imprecise" and often based on outdated information, Bein says in the recent MDM Webcast, Data into Dollars. Your company has likely faced changes in the business climate – both up and down over the past few years. And that may have shifted your sweet spot, where your best or most profitable customers are. "The sweet spot from 2008 is not the sweet spot from 2010 which is probably not the sweet spot from 2012," he says.

Another issue is that top executives likely only see the largest customers; they don't spend much time with smaller customers and, as such, can miss purchasing patterns that may be occurring in areas outside of the intuitive sweet spot......