Wholesale & Distribution International - Fall 2017 - 31
KEYSTONE SALES & ASSOCIATES
Keystone added two new manufacturers: Kraus USA, a producer of dynamic plumbing centerpieces, and drain maker
Keystone acts as the intermediary between those manufacturers and heating, air conditioning and plumbing suppliers.
Although they do not purchase from Keystone directly, contractors have benefited from Keystone's expertise and support
to install systems in projects such as Lincoln Financial Field
and Citizens Bank Park stadiums in Philadelphia, Mount Airy
Casino Resort in Pocono, Penn., and Philadelphia's Riverside
Keystone's impact on those projects is possible because of
the relationships it builds with its customers. The company utilizes a specialized salesforce divided between "farmers," who
work with engineers to set specifications and design systems,
and "pickers," who receive the orders from distributors and
contractors. The structure allows the farmers to become experts in their fields and spend more time talking to customers.
"He doesn't have to worry about the day-to-day sales guys who
pull you back from the selling process," Della Sala explains.
Client interaction is further bolstered by Keystone's internal customer service team. Because of their extensive product
knowledge, the team can provide support directly to contractors, giving manufacturers confidence in offloading that responsible to Keystone.
Having a strong customer service group helps when it comes
to troubleshooting and client questions, but Keystone also offers training programs to teach the clients how to use their systems. Keystone operates a 1,600-square-foot training facility at
its headquarters in Pottstown, Pa., which hosts as many as 800
The facility allows for live fire training so that contractors
can receive hands-on experience with new equipment and
products directly from the manufacturers. In addition to training sessions, the space is used for industry association events
and by wholesalers who want to hold off-site sales meetings.
rent a public warehouse, they pay rent whether they ship
product or not."
The setup is a major advantage over traditional warehouses,
which can carry enormous ongoing costs. "That's why we're
trying to get more of our business partners or vendors to use
our warehouses, so they have access," Della Sala adds.
Keystone is maximizing its service advantages by finding
its own efficiencies. Last year, the company purchased its own
building, reducing monthly expenditures and providing it with
equity that can be put toward future growth. "Now we have a
little bit more control over our destiny because we're paying
ourselves rent instead of somebody else rent, and that money
is being invested back into the building," Della Sala says.
The next big investment will include upgrading its computer
hard drives, and installing software to expedite its sales cycle
and a customer relations management (CRM) system to better
serve clients. "Our salespeople will have at their fingertips each
customer and what product they have been purchasing available to them instantly on their devices," Della Sala says.
"We're implementing these two systems as we speak," he
says of the sales software and CRM system. "By the beginning
of , we'll be live." q
Inventory is one of the largest expenses for any organization,
and as such has become a target for efficiency. Manufacturers
don't want to store products themselves, but they still need to
have finished equipment and components ready for sale.
The shift away from holding inventory created an opportunity for Keystone to build its own warehousing services.
The company offers 15,500 square feet of space at its headquarters in Pottstown where products can be stored for no
monthly charge. Instead, Keystone only gets paid once the
item is sold and shipped out of the warehouse. "Now they
[the manufacturers] have product locally and they don't
have to worry about paying rent," Della Sala notes. "If they
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