Developing new products and bringing them to market means a lot of testing and tweaking to get things right. Olivia Forde, CTO at Lifes2good, talks about how system flexibility makes it quicker and easier to introduce and successfully grow new brands.


Tell us about Lifes2good

Lifes2good is a brand incubator. We acquire and build up new brands with the aim of selling them on once successful. We are always looking for new health and beauty products that make a difference to people’s lives. Lifes2good invests in product development, sales and marketing and relies on customer feedback and insights into the customer journey and marketing campaigns to make sure we get things right and grow a successful brand. We also have a multi-channel business model which means we deal directly with end customers as well as via retailers and health and beauty professionals, and so we need insights into all these different audiences. 


You operate in a competitive market – what is it that makes Lifes2good successful?

It’s all about having the agility and flexibility to change things – and having the intelligence to know what to change. When you’re building a brand, it’s vital to know where to focus more resources, when to pull back, or when to sell a brand. Salesforce gives us the facts to be able to make the right decisions, but most of all it allows us to quickly and easily make changes.

For example, we use Groupon to promote some deals, but everything needs to be up and running within days and there are lots of logistics and stringent service levels involved. We can only achieve this because Salesforce is so flexible. Black Friday is the same – our marketing team put together a great offer that was so successful that we ran out of the large packs being promoted. We had to quickly make system changes so that our warehouse could fulfil orders with alternative packs and still manage pricing and inventory. With a less flexible system, we would never have been able to do it.


How easy is it to bring on board new brands?

Over the past few years, we have built lots of different modules that we can easily plug in when we take on a new brand. We’re not a development organisation but we’ve been able to create all sorts of cutomisations in-house, which gives us a great advantage. For example, we built tablet counters so that we can see when a customer will next need to stock up on a product. Also, we wanted to have better visibility of costs by brand, so we built in a purchase order module to capture that. We can pretty much add in anything we want, and that’s improving the data we capture and our ability to make business decisions.


How important is automation to your business?

Efficiency is vital for growing new brands. There’s a lot of work and investment involved so the last thing we want is staff that have to copy and paste information into multiple systems, or to develop separate processes. That’s why almost everything goes through Salesforce – sales, service, marketing and even other business processes, like our IT Helpdesk, or HR processes such as requesting and authorising annual leave. And because everything can be done using smartphones with the Salesforce mobile app, it’s quick and easy to do at home or on the move.


How is Salesforce changing the relationship between IT and the business?

We are now meeting all kinds of business needs using Salesforce and have developed a consultative relationship with all parts of the business as a result. Being able to do things so easily means that business managers now come to us with a problem or request and ask if it can be built using Salesforce. They no longer go off and build things using Excel or other systems, and that helps make us all even more efficient as well as meaning less systems to manage.


What advice would you give to someone about to implement Salesforce?

I would definitely say think outside the box, because Salesforce can do so much more than track leads and conversions. It can deliver pretty much anything you want it to, without needing huge amounts of development resource. Even admin tasks and business processes outside of sales, service and marketing can be managed using the system. Salesforce is more than a CRM system, it’s a business platform. And there aren’t many that can manage multiple sales channels and provide insights into and across all of them.


As Lifes2good has discovered, system flexibility can make things easier as well as supporting innovation and competitive edge. Read about how better insights and business agility are helping Lifes2good build better brands.