Custom Objects Data Management: an Introduction

What is custom objects data management? How can you use custom objects to improve your database? And how do HubSpot's custom objects work?

Custom objects data management is a newly released feature within HubSpot Enterprise that will help organisations of all sizes run their sales pipeline and use their CRM more effectively, as well as strengthening their processes. This development will also cut friction arising from the need for this capability in their CRM.

HubSpot announced the launch at their annual INBOUND conference this week. The release further opens up HubSpot's potential as a match for enterprise-level and larger organisations and will come as exciting news for those who have been trying to choose between HubSpot and other packages.

Read on to learn how custom objects could make a difference for your business, when to use them and what you need to know about this new capability.

What are custom objects?

When you create a record in your HubSpot database, you can choose from five in-built types, known as 'objects' (or 'standard objects'). 

Standard objects are: Companies, Contacts, Deals, Tickets and Products.

These records in your HubSpot database can then be used to store information but also for useful functionalities like automating certain actions (e.g. a workflow that creates tasks for your HubSpot users when an object meets certain criteria). 

You can also associate objects, representing their relationship to each other. Objects are a big part of how HubSpot works, so it's important to clearly establish how they are defined and used in your CRM.

The change that's happening with the introduction of custom objects will widen how you define your HubSpot records. When you need a different kind of object from the standard five, that's when you should consider a custom object.

Custom objects have been on many users' wish lists for a while. Read on to find out why! 

Don't miss: Data Lifecycle Management and How to Make the Most of Lifecycle Stages in HubSpot

Why are HubSpot custom objects a game-changer? 

A common complaint used to be that a wider choice of objects would help users represent the workings of their business and pipeline more realistically. 

Custom objects will let you get data on and record information in a way that's useful for you. If 'Contact' or 'Company' isn't specific enough, you'll be able to define an alternative. 

“If you're a school, you may want to track applications and children alongside the parent being the ‘Contact'. With custom objects, now you can. Previously, organisations would have to decide which field to use and users would have to remember the protocol; the availability of custom objects solves that problem.”

If you've been using spreadsheets to record certain information outside of your CRM because the object label didn't fit or was confusing, you now have a way to bring that data into HubSpot. This will allow you to consolidate your data use for greater efficiency.

Custom objects will also let you track subcategories of information, using them to segment in more detail. For example, custom objects could be used to record certain activities e.g. making a 'Webinar' a custom object. Not only could you segment by attendance, but also registration, giving feedback, etc.

In the past, decision-makers investing in a new CRM faced a dilemma: choose a more powerful platform, often designed for a larger, less agile organisation, or go for ease of use. HubSpot has responded to that need, offering Enterprise packages that answer both goals effectively. Custom objects are one of a range of HubSpot developments that will help users answer the complexities of their business and activities, offering both power and usability. 

Organisations needn't worry about outgrowing HubSpot — it's designed to be a system that grows with you.

Related read: Data Management 101: How to Choose the Right Data Categories for Your Needs

Custom objects data management: what can you do?

Custom objects are useful for reflecting the complexity of your operations. You might use them to record service information/requirements, complex products, or reflect the set-up of your organisation. 

“Say you're interested in a potential deal with a manufacturer that sells to multiple resellers; you could record the parent 'Company' with a standard object, but also keep track of ‘Retailers’ as a custom object.” 

Below that, you could define individual products as custom objects, looking at the relationships between product and retailer. The outcome is a much more detailed view of your marketplace. You could also sync up data in HubSpot, for example, if you were using custom objects to keep track of and share delivery information.

Are you ready to get started with custom objects? Or are you intrigued to learn more? 

In a lot of ways, custom objects are like the four standard objects. Now, using HubSpot's custom object, you can

  • create new records, once the object type has been defined
  • create and edit its properties
  • customise how it's associated with other objects
  • filter records based on their property values
  • make bulk edits to custom object records
  • import custom object records (useful for migration from other platforms)
  • report on your custom objects based on their properties
  • view custom object records on mobile if they are already associated with existing standard object records

Be aware that you might see some functions and criteria as unavailable while this new product rolls out. For example, only custom single object reports are available at the time of publishing this article.

When it comes to workflows to automate certain actions, you can

  • enroll custom object records in workflows
  • create records for a custom object using workflows
  • create workflows based on your custom object

You can find instructions on how to do all of these actions in HubSpot's Knowledge Base.

Does everyone need custom objects?

The answer to that is actually no. Being able to customise your record types sounds pretty great and it is! but it's not going to be appropriate for everyone.

The reason why is that, for some companies, the five basic object types are going to be enough. Custom objects allow you to get granular about the data you record, but you should be wary of overcomplicating things if you don't actually need to. A common error that we see as a top-rated HubSpot solutions partner is making the setup way too complex. It's better to keep things as simple as you can.

Another way to put it is to compare CRM set-up to one of those cooking game shows where contestants get to run around an amazing larder, picking out whatever they want. The smart contestants pick ingredients they can actually use pasta, tomatoes, garlic, etc.

The others get excited about the possibilities, but without much of a plan: when they come to use their fresh fish together with their organic ice cream, they realise that exciting potential doesn't always mean the right fit! Therefore, you need to choose wisely: set up your CRM and choose the right features so that it will truly meet your needs.

If you create lots of different types of objects when you don't really need to, you will overcomplicate your database. It could also make workflows (which are such an exciting part of HubSpot!) less effective and easy to manage. 

If you're not sure what are the best options for you, get in touch with us — we'll be happy to help you figure things out!

Getting started with custom objects data management 

Want to use custom objects data management to label your HubSpot database in a way that's a closer match for the reality of your business? The custom objects feature gives you that flexibility. 

As a new announcement, it's one that we're really excited about: it means that organisations who need that extra level of control, segmentation and granular detail can turn to HubSpot. The choice between CRM power and usability is a thing of the past.

Like any feature designed to answer complexity, custom objects should be used in the right way. By using them ineffectively, you might run the risk of making your CRM more complex and less efficient. Luckily, help is on hand to point you in the right direction. Check out HubSpot's knowledge base or contact us to explore how you could best use custom objects!

Get in touch with us to find out more about custom objects and how your organisation could benefit from HubSpot Sales Enterprise.New call-to-action

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