Wholesale & Distribution International - Fall 2017 - 30
KEYSTONE SALES & ASSOCIATES
www.uskeystonesales.com / Headquarters: Pottstown, Pa. / Employees: 15 / Specialty: Plumbing, heating and air conditioning
/ Bob Della Sala, president: "He doesn't have to worry about the day-to-day sales guys who pull you back from the selling process."
Keystone Sales & Associates is expanding its manufacturer's rep capabilities in 11
East Coast states to better serve the HVAC and plumbing market. BY TIM O'CONNOR
Keystone acts as an intermediary between manufacturers
and heating, air conditioning and plumbing suppliers.
s manufacturers look for
ways to become more efficient,
many are asking their manufacturer's representatives to take on more of
their functions. That transformation can
lead to exciting opportunities, but it also
requires a difficult balance between service and costs. "The big struggle that we
see is if our manufacturers are expecting
more and more out of their rep force in
sales, customer service and border entry
and we're not getting paid more for that
service," says Bob Della Sala, president of
Keystone Sales & Associates.
Adding services means hiring more
people. The hope is that higher sales follow that investment, but it can be a tricky
equation when every additional salesperson on the road can add $100,000 to
the business' expenses. Savvy manufac30 www.wdimagazine.com Fall 2017
turer's reps such as Keystone are finding
new areas of business that support those
higher service expectations.
"That's why we look for other ways to
generate revenue; that's why we look for
buy/sell lines so we can make a higher
margin," Della Sala says.
Della Sala, a former vice president at generator distributor Total Energy Systems,
joined Keystone in 1996 as part of a succession plan for the company, then called
Tozour Energy Systems. "It was the foresight of my predecessor, the previous
owner, Joe Bisignaro, to bring me in and
say, 'This is the guy who can take over,'"
Della Sala says. For 10 years, he learned
the ins and outs of the plumbing, heating
and air conditioning business and proved
he could manage the sales team. By 2006,
Della Sala was ready to take over and purchased the company and renamed it Keystone Sales & Associates.
On taking control of the company, Della Sala realized the manufacturers' representative business was changing. Diversification became more important to
manage market downturns, so Keystone
started to acquire other agencies to expand its offerings to 11 East Coast states.
It also transitioned away from a commission-based structure to focus more on
buying and selling to resellers.
The number of manufacturers Keystone represents has increased as the
company has expanded its footprint
across the Mid-Atlantic. Major vendors
include Bosch, Bock Water Heaters, Fantech, and MARS. In the past year alone,