At this year’s INBOUND conference, HubSpot announced the release of a Custom Objects feature. Why? Your business has intricacies and complexities, unlike any other. Customisable data options are now available for those who have outgrown the basic data management previously available. As HubSpot puts it: “We are giving businesses the opportunity to build a data schema that works exactly as they need it to.”
In this article, we will explore what custom objects are and how to start using them. But before we get to that, let us first explore what standard objects are.
What are standard objects in HubSpot?
There are several standard objects records that make up the data structure within HubSpot: contacts, companies, deals, tickets and products.
For every person that communicates with your organisation, a contact record is created. While separate from company records, contacts may be associated with a company. Organisations and businesses that communicate with your business are categorised as companies.
The interactions between your contacts or companies, and your sales or customer service teams are either stored as deals or tickets. Deals consist of opportunities, and tickets encompassing support tickets and customer requests. Products are information on your offerings.
For each standard object, HubSpot has a list of default properties such as name, email, phone, fax, industry, job title, etc. Properties are elements of your object that you wish to store data on. These default properties are automatically created when you create your account and available without any setup. If you are using the HubSpot Company Insights or HubSpot AI, these default properties will be populated.
While these default properties are quite inclusive, they still don’t fit every scenario. If you need to store data that doesn’t fit within a default property, you can create custom properties to suit your requirements. Creating these custom properties is as easy as pie – simply add a label and choose the property type (text, number, date, etc.). These custom properties help you record information that is unique to your business, like the number of printers a specific company has (this would be a company property) or whether a lead would be interested in joining your Beta program.
Within your CRM, connecting your leads with their companies, or companies with deals or even deals with tickets is a great way to keep your data organised. This allows you to keep track of which contacts have raised which ticket, which deals consist of which products, which contacts work at which companies and any other associations you’ll need to track of. These associations are essential, as, without them, you will soon have disjointed and disconnected data in your HubSpot account.
Now that we understand standard objects, their properties, and the associations between them, let us explore HubSpot’s custom objects.
What are HubSpot Custom Objects?
Custom objects are precisely what the name suggests. They allow you to extend HubSpot’s functionality by giving you the flexibility to define objects as your business data requires, beyond the scope of the standard objects.
That means you can customise your CRM and website to fit in with your data schema, and not the other way around.
HubSpot custom objects look and act exactly as standard objects do, and can be used in reporting, marketing campaigns and accessed by all users. They can even be associated with other standard or custom objects, just like your standard objects.
When do you use Custom Objects vs Standard Objects?
The biggest trigger to knowing you need a custom object should be the identification of whether a relationship between information is one-to-one or one-to-many.
For example, if you are trying to determine whether you should use a standard or custom object for storing information on the email client that a company uses, you would look at whether this would be one value or multiple values? Do companies use one or multiple email clients for their business? In most cases, this is only one, and you would easily be able to create one custom property to store the name of the email client which they use.
But if you wanted to keep track of the certificates one of your students has completed, would that be one-to-one as well? No, because a student could have completed multiple certificates that you need to track. In this case, you could also create custom properties to keep track of the certificates, but how many would you create? Certificate 1, certificate 2, certificate 3 and on and on.
Instead, it would be easier creating Certificates as a custom object, with the ability to associate contacts to multiple certificates.
But while you can customise custom objects to your specific needs, don’t go out of your way to create them unless you know they are necessary. HubSpot standard objects carry several key or AI-enabled functions that should be recognised and utilised to put more power behind your data. If you create a custom object in a scenario where a standard object would be applicable, you only lose out on these features.
What are the features included in a standard object?
HubSpot harnesses the Contacts standard object to send marketing emails to lists generated through the system. Those contacts are often associated with a company, and that company has public data. Using the standard object for a Company versus creating a custom object, allows published data for the company to be automatically populated by HubSpot Company Insights. All the interactions between contacts and companies are meant to bring you to a sales goal and using the Deals standard object assures revenue reports and forecasts can be generated from the information obtained. Within the Tickets standard object, you have the power to automatically create support requests with incoming emails or calls from customers. And with the Products standard object, you can add line items to deals and quotes.
What is an example of a custom object?
A few examples of scenarios that would need a custom object:
The relationship between your school’s student and their parents: One child can have more than one parent, or even more than one set of parents, guardians, or grandparents. On the flip side, one parent can have more than one child. These associations between children and parents are essential to running a successful school, but with standard objects, you can’t associate contacts with other contacts. The recommended route here would be to store parents as a Contacts object and create a custom object for Students. Associations can then be created between the two objects and will allow you to track relationships between multiple parental figures and multiple students.
The relationship between pets and owners for a Vet.: Just like a child, your fur baby may not be an only child, and maintaining that data correctly in a Vet’s system can help prevent a lot of mishaps. Your pet owner would be the Contact object and creating a custom object called Pets, would allow information about the owner to be associated with all pets. A pet owner could update their information, such as a new address, on a single profile that can be associated with all pets.
We know there are so many more opportunities to utilise custom objects, and these merely skim the surface of possibility. Let us know how you plan on using custom objects in your HubSpot?
How would you use custom objects in the CMS Hub?
CRM objects can be displayed on HubSpot hosted webpages, blogs or landing pages, allowing data to be shared between your business operations, website, and emails.
HubL tags allow you to pull CRM object data into your HubSpot hosted pages, to help you provide the most personalized customer experience possible. Using HubL, you’re able to create customized pages for your audience that’s powered by the data in your HubSpot CRM. You can build custom profile pages showing a contact their most recently purchased products, when their renewal dates are, what contact information you have on file for them, who their account representative is, and so much more. This feature has been available for standard objects for quite some time, but now includes custom objects, too. And while standard objects (except Products) are only available on pages that are password protected or require CMS membership login, custom objects and Products are available for display on any public page.
How do you create a custom object?
Lastly, let us look at how to go about creating custom objects.
Plan It. Before jumping in to create new custom objects, take some time to plan out your needs. Double-check the standard objects, if they work, use them. But of course, if they don’t fit your needs, identify the purpose, structure, required custom properties and necessary associations for your new custom object. It's important to note that custom objects are available on Enterprise accounts of any hub, so make sure you have a Enterprise subscription.
Do It. After we plan, we do! If you’re not the developer for your team, now is the time to reach out to one, as you’ll need to define your custom objects through APIs.
Once the object has been created, you can start adding your data and creating records for that object. As you add your data, be sure to add clean data and don’t forget to associate them with other objects.
After your data has been imported into HubSpot, you want to make sure your custom object has been set up and defined correctly and that the associations you made are accurate. Run a report or practice workflow. If the associations and interactions between all custom and standard objects are running smoothly, consider your test passed.
Run It. Don’t forget, data needs maintenance, just like everything else in life. Take time to remove redundancies or unused data and check back that your properties and associations still fit your needs.