Interview series: Beth DeAvila, HP Officejet Pro Brand Manager

Far too often the customer ends up buying technology not because it's right for them but because it's what they think is going to be the perfect fit.

Far too often the customer ends up buying technology not because it's right for them but because it's what they think is going to be the perfect fit.

But technology moves swiftly and perceptions about IT can become dangerously outdated leaving the buyer and even the reseller choosing and pitching the wrong solution.

One of the areas where this is certainly true is around printing and, in the rush to embrace laser technology, the inkjet option has been overlooked by far too many resellers and their SME customers.

Few people know this better than Beth DeAvila, the HP Officejet Brand Manager for the UK and Ireland, who is keen to break down preconceptions of the ink technology that is used by its HP Officejet Pro printer range.

The key message that she wants to give resellers is that the range can produce savings of up to 50% versus comparable lasers for those customers that are in the sweet spot in terms of both size and volume of printed pages. Those that are printing less than 100 pages a day and have around 10 staff in an office could benefit not just from cheaper priinting costs than alternative laser products but also up to 50% less energy costs.

What makes those sorts of savings achievable is largely a result of the research and development that the vendor has put into the HP Officejet Pro range, which have produced a series of innovations that make it a much more attractive business product. In between laser at the high end and the consumer photo inkjets aimed squarely at the home market there has been plenty of investment in meeting the needs of small companies.

The investment has happened at every level with no major aspect of the printing process left unimproved and enhanced, and DeAvila believes that not every customer has kept up with the pace of change.

On the ink front the challenge was to use ink that would be resistant to water to prevent documents from becoming ruined by exposure to moisture.

When it came to how the paper was handled, great care was taken to ensure the user got the best output. Borrowing from laser printers the traditional in one side and out the other, inkjet paper feed has been replaced with a system that has eight touch points to ensure the paper goes through smoothly avoiding paper jams.

At the top end of the HP Officejet Pro range - the HP Officejet Pro 8500A Plus-e All-in-One Printer - it is possible to print, scan, copy, fax and email print jobs. The user can control the functions through a colour touch screen display on a printer that can rival in functions large enterprise multi-function devices.

To add to that growing list, there is the HP ePrint option, where users can email print jobs to the printer removing the need for a driver, and adding a great deal of flexibility to those wanting to print both in and out of their office.

"But the most important factor is the cost per page, the ink will cost up to 50% less than using a similar sized laser," DeAvila adds. "That is one of the things we lead with because resellers and buyers are becoming more conscious of the running costs."

"HP sells consumer, HP Officejet and HP LaserJet products, and the number one priority to the customer is to make sure they are getting the right printer for their needs," says DeAvila. But for that to happen, the reseller needs to work closely with the customer and the advice from DeAvila is for partners to make that effort to really get to know their users so they can pitch the right printer and the buyer gets the best return on investment and quality possible.

Questions for a reseller to ask
In determining which printer a customer needs there are a few quick questions that a reseller can ask:

How many staff do you have? And how much do they print?

The size of the customer in terms of staff and volume of pages printed is key to prequalifying them as an HP Officejet target customer but there are other things partners can ask in the sales process:

Will you use colour printing?

A customer might take the view that mono is a fair solution for now but looking ahead will it meet their needs and with the cost of colour having come down there is perhaps a chance for a rethink over plans around colour?

How important is ROI with your printing?

If a customer is looking for lower costs, devices that use less energy and component costs over the life of the product are attractive, plus if they tick the boxes in terms of size and volume of printing, then Inkjet is a solution that they need to consider.

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