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Introducing HubSpot's custom objects

At INBOUND 2020 HubSpot officially launched custom objects, something that had been long on the wish list of functional developments for the HubSpot platform. The introduction of custom objects is a significant step, enabling HubSpot to move upmarket and compete against the likes of Salesforce in the mid tier and enterprise level CRM market, whilst adding to its compelling offering for SMEs. 

This article explains custom objects and provides a number of use cases and real-life examples.

What are custom objects?

By default, HubSpot has four ‘objects’. These are Contacts, Companies, Deals and Tickets. In turn these objects have multiple fields associated with them, such as ‘first name’ or ‘last name’ in the case of the Contact object. In addition, property fields for each object can be created to suit the business need, hence the term ‘custom properties’.  

Custom objects are similar to custom properties, in that they enable the business to simply set up HubSpot in a way that is aligned to the business requirements, providing flexibility and scalability as the business grows and evolves.

Of course, custom objects are created at the object level, which opens up a whole new opportunity for customisation and enhancing capability through properties. 

The important thing to note is that custom objects operate in exactly the same way as standard objects within HubSpot, which means:

  • They can be used for generating reports and insight.
  • Using APIs they can integrate with the wider business infrastructure - and one of the most common uses we see is for them to bring data into HubSpot that can then be used more effectively to improve digital capability.
  • They can be used within workflows creating significant opportunity for automating business processes.
  • Custom properties can be set up using a wide range of field types to exactly match business requirements, these fields can be populated manually or automatically from workflows.
  • Timeline events can be tracked against them, providing activity and event visibility against the object.
  • A custom object’s relationship with other objects can be set up on a one-to-one, one-to-many or many-to-many basis. See examples in the use cases below.
  • The setup and structure utilises the already impressive UI and once created they can be managed within the portal in the same way as standard objects.

Examples and use cases:

  • Property development and sales. An object can be created for properties for sale. An example would be a developer selling apartments, each individual apartment can be linked to a deal and contact, enabling the business to manage property availability and the full cradle-to-grave sales cycle.  Properties can also be displayed on the website and once the deal is marked as ‘closed won’ in HubSpot, it is automatically removed or marked as sold.
  • Managing contracts. For companies that manage multiple customer contracts these can be created as custom objects. This will enable the business to keep track of all contracts and renewals and connect them to both companies and contacts.

    Date fields can be used to automatically manage the renewal process and multiple contracts can be set up for individual companies and contacts.

  • Selling and managing services. For companies that deliver services, a custom object can be created to track the type of services being sold to companies. Reports and dashboards can be created to see which customers are buying the services and used to identify cross selling opportunities. 
  • Managing resellers. For businesses using a reseller model, custom objects will enable the business to manage resellers far more effectively, tracking discount rates or payment terms, SLAs and much more.
  • Managing memberships. In the example of a gym membership, timeline event activity could be used to trigger communications. For example, if a gym member is on a monthly pay as you go and hasn’t been to the gym for 5 weeks an automatic email or text could be sent to them, equally, if they attend 4 times in a week they can be sent a ‘super user’ notification.

These are just a few use cases. The opportunities to build the HubSpot platform around your business processes is almost limitless. 

If you want to dig deeper into custom objects, drop us a line or listen to our Custom Object Solutions podcast here.

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