HubSpot Product Updates: Why Custom Objects Matter to Your Personas

Katy Compton
Posted by Katy Compton on December 3, 2020

hubspot-custom-objectsOkay, you know HubSpot. Why else would you click to read this article, right? One of HubSpot’s strengths is managing relationships — from the first touch a prospect has with your company all the way through customer experience. According to HubSpot, the types of external relationships your business has include companies, contacts, deals, and tickets.

Your records for these objects, gathered in your CRM database, can automate specific marketing, sales, and service actions within your HubSpot account. So, once a record meets an established criteria, it automatically triggers a task, such as an email send or notification for users based on your workflow. These records also provide context for your sales and service reps when engaging with contacts.

That’s why object records — creating and maintaining them — makes HubSpot work as hard as you need it to, and scale with your business to provide remarkable customer experiences.

So, What are HubSpot Custom Objects?

Out-of-the-box, HubSpot has standard objects — companies, contacts, deals, and tickets — and customizable properties that you can associate to said objects. But these four object types may not cover everything you need when it comes to organizing and reporting on your data in a way that aligns with how your business operates.

So HubSpot created “custom objects” to hold whatever different types of information ("properties") you decide are needed. Then, you can use associations to connect those types of information to contact/company/deal records. Objects such as product or service types, contract renewal dates, etc.; things that help you organize and use data in a way that helps your business grow.

Custom objects, only available within HubSpot’s Enterprise tiered products and only since September 2020, function like standard objects; they can be imported, sorted, filtered, etc. And just like standard objects, every single custom object can be given unique properties. It requires very little learning to gain and use helpful, new features.

Screenshot of Select an object you'd like to import with options such as deals, contacts, products, and more

How Custom Objects Work

Confused about the difference between custom properties and objects? Think of it like this: properties are individual data points created for an object and can be edited and managed with property groups. Custom objects are a separate record in your CRM than companies, contacts, etc. but you can associate objects to one another to get a holistic view of a contact or company as needed.

To explain how they actually work, we’re borrowing this example from HubSpot

You own a pet kennel, and you’re somewhat old-school, asking new customers to complete paper forms. You get the human’s name, contact info, and billing basics. You also collect pet information (one sheet for each animal): name, age, breed, health info, dietary details, etc. You staple the forms together so you know they’re connected.

You decide to modernize your pet kennel. No more paper forms! You use HubSpot, and customers are “contacts,” a standard object in HubSpot, with standard properties (name, email, phone number, etc.). You also create custom properties when necessary (birthday, favorite color, etc.); each customer information data point gets its own contact property.

OK, where does the pet information go? Standard HubSpot objects don’t have areas to store animal info. Here’s where custom objects shine! Define a “pets” object with properties for everything from your paper form (name, age, breed, etc.), and make sure pet records are associated with (or connected to) contact records. Associations are digital staples! When you define a custom object in HubSpot, you determine what other objects it’s associated to.

RELATED: 6 Great HubSpot Features You Might Not Know About

Custom Objects Matter to Your Personas

A CRM should be built around how a company works and that company’s data; not the other way around. Custom objects create alternative ways to store data — allowing users to go beyond the predefined HubSpot standard objects — so you can bucket data better.

What kind of buckets?

  • Physical products: inventory, parts, equipment
  • Virtual products: things that expire (software licenses, subscriptions)
  • Services: anything that’s delivered similarly to a project or program
  • Events: organize information from trade shows and appearances

When used properly, custom objects give you huge amounts of flexibility and control. Your data is better, which means your customer delight can be maximized. It’s just important to remember to be thoughtful in vetting each use case.

Use Cases in Different Hubs

Custom objects can be used differently within each HubSpot hub. Here are just two examples from each of the four hubs.

Sales Hub Use Cases

  • Track conversions: Learn from information on your website how prospects are converting to qualified leads
  • Tracking deals of complex or high value products: Many industrial manufacturers sell complex, expensive equipment that requires regular service and check-ins from the OEM. The complexity of these products may go beyond the capability of HubSpot’s “Products” feature. For example, a “Tissue Machine” object record could represent a single machine model and be associated with deal records, allowing teams to identify, segment and report on deals involving a particular machine model.

Marketing Hub Use Cases

  • Boost account-based marketing campaigns: Create associations between contacts/companies and your campaigns to create ongoing conversations
  • Personalize emails: Gather information on contact preferences so you can automatically notify a prospect when a new product is released

Service Hub Use Cases

  • Collect feedback: Custom objects can measure changes in feedback from companies/contacts so you can improve customer experiences
  • Create chat bot personalization: A custom object workflow can copy a custom object property value to a contact property; then have chat bots send personalized messages

CMS Hub Use Cases

  • Create custom object module fields: Content editors can select an instance of a CRM object to display information on a specific product, contact, company, deal, etc.
  • Personalize your website: Custom object data can be used on your website to feature the most relevant products based on a contact's preferences

Now that you know what custom objects are, you can see how HubSpot can power not only remarkable interactions with marketing, sales, and service, but every interaction a person has with your website as well — especially compared to standalone CMS software like WordPress. To learn more about how HubSpot’s features stack up to WordPress, check out our guide: HubSpot vs. WordPress Comparison

Topics: Marketing Technology

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