Hewlett-Packard is ploughing money into a "direct-style" Australian reseller program aimed at putting more dedicated specialist large format printer sales staff on the ground.
Over the last six months, HP has offered eight resellers the chance to hire an extra sales person dedicated to selling HP's high-end DesignJet printers which cost in the vicinity of $27,000. Providing these resellers sell a minimum of two units each month, HP will offer a rebate of $3000 towards the cost of employing the specialist DesignJet salesperson, and this is on top of the normal margin.
The scheme, known as the "Feet on the Street", has already been extended for a year and HP officials are hoping that up to 25 resellers will be attracted to the concept.
But although the program has been welcomed by resellers, it does not mean a free extra staff member. Peter Maginn, managing director of system integrator Budde International said: "We could have three or four people involved in a system sale, and having the dedicated DesignJet specialist allows us greater capacity to focus on the printer component.
"But, regardless of the rebate, the risk of employing the extra person is mine," Maginn admitted.
Another participant, Melbourne-based Mac reseller Designwyse, specialises in the publishing, pre-press and printing markets. Managing director Robert Kloester said that prior to becoming involved in the program his company did not have a lot of experience in HP printers.
"It has allowed us to have a person focused on the large format printer market, spending most of their time contacting prospects and arranging demonstrations."
Kloester added that Designwyse has sold "quite a few" printers and has made the minimum quota to earn the rebate every month except September, which he said is traditionally slow. He estimated that the rebate covers around half the cost of the extra staff member, and described the HP program as progressive and forward thinking.
According to DesignJet market development manager Nelson Ferrari: "HP is not fooling around with the plan and intends to own the large format printer market.
This is as direct as channel support gets."
Ferrari claimed that the Feet on the Street program not only demonstrated HP's support of the channel, but will also grow the large format market.
He added that HP is about to launch its Certified Print Centre program in Australia, providing "on-demand" short run print shops across the country. Resellers and end users will have the opportunity to participate in what is claimed to be the most comprehensive large format print production service program available in Australia.