Just read an interesting take on the next generation of social networking and online communities at 1:1 Media’s site.
The blog post talked about how 3D avatars and online networks will result in consumers buying and selling online. And to an extent, we’ve seen a lot of that with sites like Second Life already.
But what about the B2B world? How will 3D avatars, and more ubiquitous use of social networks factor into that type of sales model?
I think that as unified communications (UC), social networks, and CRM all converge, there will be a new kind of virtual sales model. Call it “avatar-assisted selling” or what have you, but it could be the way of the future. Cisco has already created really wild telepresence technologies, and link that with WebEx and DimDim integrations to CRM systems, and sales reps can connect in very meaningful ways on many levels with prospects and customers.
Imagine – you are a customer, and you’re looking through a product catalog and have a question. Instantly, your rep pings you through a next generation social network (supported internally via a CRM system) and you enter into a virtual session where you can see and hear that rep paging through a catalog, pointing out product configurations, citing discount promotions, etc. as if she was right in the room with you. In this economy, it gives the high touch needed to provide a great sales experience, but without all the costs (and energy consumption) of actual travel.
The benefits of UC have been well documented for customer support scenarios, but I am excited to see how UC and 3D presence technologies aid the sales agents of the future…