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NMBS to offer sales-i to its merchants.

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sales-i is pleased to announce that it has signed a strategic agreement with the National Merchant Buying Society, the most successful buying group for independent builders, plumbers, hardware, and timber merchants in the UK, to offer sales-i to its 660+ building industry members.


NMBS has formed over forty years ago and has adopted the motto “Strengthening Independents.” Everything it does is aimed to improve the profitability and operating costs of its independent members and includes everything – from getting better deals on products to driving down costs by utilizing its highly efficient clearing house services and electronic trading facilities.

The decision to offer sales-i’s sales enablement software service to its members comes at a time when they face the threat posed by the large national merchants coupled with a struggling economy. Smart sales analysis and identifying who is buying what and at what margins and profitability are now more critical than ever before.



sales-i is a unique sales support service that streamlines and accelerates salespeople, sales processes, and sales figures. By carefully monitoring customer behavior and purchasing patterns, sales-i discovers and analyses precisely when, why, where, and how businesses buy their products and services, transforming this knowledge into qualified, targeted high-quality sales opportunities. These opportunities are then express-delivered to salespeople via automatic text and email alerts. And because sales-i also identifies and flags up potential competitive threats and predicts competitor activity, not only do salespeople get to the sale fast, they get there first. sales-i is delivered on-demand via the web with a monthly fee, so software installation or downloads is unnecessary.

Nick Oates, the NMBS’s trading director, came across sales-i from his previous experience in the office products industry, where a leading buying group, Integra, recommends sales-i to its members to boost sales in a challenging market. On investigation, Nick recognized that sales-i could potentially offer the same benefits to the building products industry.

Nick explains, “Independent merchants compete against big national players by offering a trusted, customer-focused service. However, keeping abreast of which customer is buying which products and identifying upselling and cross-selling opportunities can be difficult to spot amongst hundreds of customers and potentially thousands of products. “ Nick continues, “With sales-i, our merchants can have this information at their fingertips in real-time and that empowers them to identify sales opportunities when out on the road, or in the office, or at home before setting out on a sales call. We are delighted to offer this to our members and to give them the opportunity to improve their profitability in these testing times. ”

Kevin McGirl is co-founder of sales-i and comments, “We are honored to forge this strategic partnership with the NMBS, and we look forward to helping its members to gain a competitive advantage as they face challenging market conditions. As part of the NMBS evaluation, we have already received the go-ahead from a number of members and suppliers, including Huws Gray, Leeds Plywood, Proctor Group, and Rodo.

Nicholls & Clarke, one of the UK’s largest manufacturers and distributors of building products, was amongst the first in its industry to give sales-i to its sales team on mobile phones.

Nicholls & Clarke equipped its sales team with Vodafone Smartphone PDAs installed with satellite navigation, email, Internet access and sales-i mobile and this is clearly improving their effectiveness and the way they work. Richard Hill, a Nicholls and Clarke director, explains, “The barriers to adopting sales-i were minimal as all the salespeople are familiar with mobile devices. Now they are empowered with everything they need to get to the customer armed with instant account information, so they go into meetings fully informed and prepared. We are using the sales-i alert system, which also tells us if there is any change in the customer’s buying behavior, so my salespeople can identify upselling opportunities and maximize the account visit.”

NMBS will shortly begin a campaign to promote sales-i to its members through the NMBS website. Nick adds, “sales-i is a very straightforward system that requires no software installation or downloads. It is easy to set up and get running and the cost is very low too so we are expecting it to be a successful venture with very good take up.”

About NMBS

The National Merchant Buying Society (NMBS) was formed over 40 years ago by a group of independent merchants in the Midlands who wanted to come together to buy better and compete more effectively with their larger counterparts.

Today, NMBS is the most successful buying group for independent builders, plumbers, hardware, and timber merchants in the UK and has an annual turnover of around £550m, with approximately 660 members and over 1400 branches. It has deals with every major supplier in the building industry.

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