[Closed] Ask Me Anything: Custom Objects

HubSpot Product Team

Hi everyone, 

 

My name is Adrienne and I am a member of the Product Marketing team at HubSpot. As you may have heard, HubSpot introduced a very exciting new feature at INBOUND, custom objects. This tool is something we’ve been working on for quite some time, and we’re excited for you to finally get to try it out. 

 

Whether you’ve been eagerly awaiting this release, or you’re just starting to familiarize yourself with the tool, we want to hear from you and answer any questions you may have about custom objects.

 

To ensure you're set up for success with custom objects, we've brought together our most knowledgeable HubSpotters to answer all of your questions. 

 

We will be answering questions from Monday October 5 - Friday October 9. 

 

Ask a question below and learn from: 

@ajoselow - Product Marketing Principal 

@ebeck - Product Marketing Manager

@jeffreyr - Director, GTM

@KyleJepson - Academy Professor

@mhodsdon - Solutions Architect 

@nmedina - Product Marketer

@ncarbone - GTM Manager

@Shelby - Product Marketer

 

Not sure what to ask? Here are a few sample questions to get the conversation started: 

  1. What are custom objects?
  2. When should I use a custom object versus a custom field? 
  3. How can I learn more about custom objects?

Want a primer? Here are the basics:

Custom objects are a set of customizable records within your CRM that supplement standard CRM records in a more flexible way. Custom objects allow you to supplement data in a scalable way with flexible associations, so you can  name the object, determine what properties it has, and decide what other objects it can be associated with in your CRM. For more details and use cases, I encourage you to check out the custom objects feature page for an overview of this powerful new feature.

 

How to get involved: Drop your question in the comments below and we’ll respond throughout the week. If you see a question you’re interested in following, give it an upvote to ensure we know you’re interested in learning more! 

 

This AMA is now closed. Thank you everyone for your participation and questions. Stay tuned for more AMAs to come! 

83 Replies 83
New Contributor

Let's talk a Campaign Object as a custom object.

I still find limitations with the hubspot campaigns feature. I leverage campaigns in SFDC.

 

What about creating a campaigns custom object in Hubspot to enable more 1 to 1 synching from campaigns in SFDC? With the goal of enabling attribution to multiple campaigns as well as more custom reporting.

 

Would this be the type of use case one might explore?

HubSpot Employee

@HubspotAdmin This is a very good thought, but I don't suspect this is a good use case for a HubSpot Custom Object today.  The Campaigns object in SFDC gets used in a variety of different ways, as do "Campaigns" in HubSpot.

 

It may be that creating a Campaign object in HubSpot could help with this, though there may need to be some custom development to make sure it is syncing properly with the Campaign object in SFDC.

 

My initial thought would be to unpack what you mean by "enabling attributuion to multiple campaigns" and "custom reporting" into reporting requirements and from there it may become more clear whether a Custom Object is necessary for what you need to do or whether there is a more straightforward solution such as using Lists in HubSpot based on Campaigns in SFDC.

 

Longer term, the custom object capabilities will continue to improve and your use case here may be something we can solve more appropriately using a custom object.

Regular Contributor

Hello HS Custom Objects crack team! Fantastic work and thank you for all the support.
Are there plans to incorporate multiple properties where we can associate contacts under different conditions? 
(Following the Cars Custom Object example, a Car Users property linked to X contacts and also a single Car Owner property linked to a Y contact, and just for fun a Car Drivers propery with multiple Z contacts)

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Inbound Professor

Hey @BDaniel -- If I'm understanding you correctly, then there's a separate feature currently under development that I think would address this. Here's what we're working on:

 

Elsewhere in this thread, someone asked about being able to associate multiple companies to a contact (edited). This is something we're actively working on, and I speculated that it could be available in beta before the end of the year. That might sound totally unrelated to what you're talking about, but the way we're thinking about this feature is enabling users to create named associations. So a contact might be associated to Company A as an employee and associated to Company B as a board member. There isn't an "Employee" property or "Board Member" property on contacts or companies--the association itself holds this information.

 

Once we get these sorts of associations right between contacts and companies, then we plan on rolling this out to assocations between other objects. When we get there, you could have a car objects with one contact associated as the owner and a couple other contacts associated as drivers etc. Which I think gets at what you're asking for, but if not, let me know!

 

(NOTE: None of this currently exists in HubSpot today, and plans can change. I'm not directly involved in the development of these features. This is just my understanding of the world we're trying to get to.)

Occasional Contributor | Diamond Partner

@KyleJepson I really like the concept of named associations. Big upvote. Very useful in lots of applications. Also in custom objects!

 

But: when you write (at the top of paragraph 2: "being able to associate multiple contacts to a company", surely you mean "being able to associate a contact to multiple companies", right?

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Inbound Professor

YES! Wow, what a typo! Edited 🙂

Occasional Contributor

Hi, I have asked this elsewhere, but the answers here seem more varied. 

Would it be a good idea to use a Custom object to track referrals between contacts (Customers). So one Customer, ther referrer could refer several other contacts to our business (referrees). We would like to keep track of which contact refered which other contact and then email the referrer at certain points of the referree's journey, to thank them.  

How would I need to set this up to work, considering different contacts could be referrers, referrees or in fact both. 

 

We currently use custom properties, but this is clunky and has difficulty referrencing to the referrer, without using some zapier magic to make it happen. It also means not all referrals are always tracked as things in the external workflow breaks down. 

 

Thank you in advance. 

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Inbound Professor

Hi @Christo! Check out my answer to @Daniel3T -- I think the same logic applies to this circumstance, but let me know if I'm wrong 🙂

Occasional Contributor

Thank you. So not yet possible, but maybe in the future...

HubSpot Employee

@Christo I think this is an interesting use case.  Often folks who are building a referral system may look at a third party system to handle it.  There are a number of integrations that folks have had success with: https://ecosystem.hubspot.com/marketplace/apps/all-categories?eco_search=referral

 

With that said, it may be that a "Referral" Custom Object could get you closer to a home-grown system in HubSpot.  This may be worth digging into further, but from a database perspective it feels like you could create a Referral Object with some properties to define the referral itself.  Perhaps a Referral Type, Date, etc.

 

You could then associate the referrals with Contacts, and could associate them to the Referrer contact as well as all of the Referrals.

 

The biggest challenge you'll run into with making this feel complete is that when a Referral is associated to a Contact we cannot make that contact be a certain Association Type or give them a Role.  For example, you would have more than one contact associated to the referral, but wouldn't be able to (at a glance) see which contact was the Referrer vs the ones Referred.  We can get around that with a Custom Property for the Referrer, and then associate all contacts.

 

It's not perfect, but might get you moving towards something more sophisticated.

 

As always, your first step should be to make sure you are clear on the use cases you want to work through at the end of the project.  What emails need to be sent and to whom, and what needs to be included?  What data needs to be collected for internal reporting?  Where does the most important pieces of data need to be stored for you to be able to "do your work"?

Regular Contributor

Hi @KyleJepson, thanks for the clarification indeed. 
This would be a big addition and I understand that it would take some time for it to trickle down to Custom Objects, so if you ever hear about Beta or Alpha access to it, we'd be happy to give it a test run. 🙂
Following on the Car scenario, could I be able to create associations between the custom object and companies through a workflow the same way that I can now with Contact Owners? For example, we are syncing the Cars and their drivers through the API. But I'd like the cars to be also associated to the company that the drivers are part of. I believe we can do this through the API but would there be a way of doing it from a workflow? 
Say the enrollment trigger is Contact's buying role is Purchaser AND is associated to a Car, copy contact's Company to License's Company property? (I think I may have answered my own question here haha, but I tried doing something like this earlier but found that there was no way of copying it so thus my question).

Second scenario is a bit more into the weeds. Say the Car Object has a date property that I define as Lease End. Could I create workflows that say that ON the Lease End date, update all contacts associated to it to change their Contact Property: Is Active Driver, to NO? Or, in case there are multiple cars people can be driving, a Contact Workflow that if the associated Car's lease period is to expire, changes their active driver status? What can be done if there are multiple cars that person can have access to? would it be an IF no other Lease End date at a further date is known, then change the status? Seems just a tad more convoluted than what workflows give us the chance to do. 
Again, thanks again for this AMA! Pretty cool ideas and concepts being baked here. 🙂 

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Inbound Professor

Hey @Daniel3T ,

 

Now you're asking hard questions! 🙂 There isn't currently a way to center custom-object workflows around a date property the way you can for contacts. I don't know of specific plans to correct that, but in general we are working toward object parity in all parts of the platform, so I would expect that this will be possible someday. In the meantime, you could do something like this:

 

KyleJepson_0-1601991689010.png

That's a bit of a workaround, but if your leases are a year long, it should do the job.

 

Your second question is indeed more convoluted, but it makes a lot of sense. We know we need more robust logic functions in workflows, and this is something that we're thinking hard about. I can't promise that workflows will function in exactly the way you're imagining, but I would bet if/thens and loops and other basic functions like that will be available in workflows in the near-ish future.

 

(Same note as last time--I'm not in charge of product decisions. I do hear things that happen behind the scenes, but I'm not in a position to promise things, let alone dictate timelines for those things.)

 

Kyle

Occasional Contributor

Hi,

Custom objects seem super exciting for us, can't wait to start my experiments. I expect that adding custom objects will increase the number of custom prpoerties in use in our portal. I'm wondering if you consider raising the number of searchable custom properties? AFAIK recently it is 3, and by adding new data dimensions we'll quickly run short with that.

 

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Inbound Professor

Hi @aguth! This is all still something we're figuring out. We are working on getting custom-object properties added to search, but we haven't ironed out all the details on limits and things. All of that will hopefully get ironed out in early to mid 2021.

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New Contributor | Diamond Partner

Hi, 

 

We're thinking of whether or not to use custom objects for company locations and mother/daughter structures. The alternative is using custom properties with e.g. multiple checkboxes to display this kind of information on the contact/company record.  

 

Do you have any recommendations as to how we should attack the above scenario? I would think custom objects is the best solution, but I'd really like your take on it before making a decision. 

 

Thanks. 

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Inbound Professor

Hi @Andersh92! I think we'd have to dive a little deeper to understand the situation fully, but there was at least one company in the beta program this summer that used custom objects for company locations and was pretty happy with it. I don't know any details beyond that, though. I'll see if I can get someone with more insight to respond to this question.

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New Contributor | Diamond Partner

Thanks @KyleJepson That makes sense.

 

The situation is that we have sales reps working their sales processes towards say 50 of total 100 companies underneath a parent company. Let's call the parent company "Tomato Group". Then Tomato Group has 100 locations with names along the lines of Tomato Dublin, Tomato London, Tomato Manchester, etc. 50 of these locations are in sales processes with our sales reps. Would it be smart if we created a custom objects for "locations", so that we could see all these locations from the "Tomato group" company record?

 

This would also make it better for our sales reps to easier manage their sales processes, as with "location" as a custom object, I assume they can associate deals to the respective locations, rather than associating all deals from a tomato location to the parent company (Tomato Group), as is the case today. 

 

Lastly, we would also like to see from all the Tomato location records that "Tomato group" is the parent company. In my head custom objects sounds much better than creating custom properties for this matter, and I can't really see a good way of handling this using custom properties instead. Do you agree? 

 

And by the way, sorry for the Tomato-example. I have no idea why I chose that as my example company name. I must really like tomatoes I guess.. 

 

Thanks! 

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Inbound Professor

@Andersh92 -- Hey, tomatoes are delicious!

 

Is there a reason parent-child relationships for companies wouldn't work for you? https://knowledge.hubspot.com/companies/how-can-i-add-a-parent-or-child-company-to-an-existing-compa...

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New Contributor | Diamond Partner

@KyleJepson Yes, that feature has it's limitations and we have tried that previously. It doesn't solve the issue. I still think custom objects is the best solution, but as you've said many times, we're going to think this through before creating it. Thanks. 

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Top Contributor

Would custom objects be a good use for unique coupon codes? Each record is a unique coupon that holds all relevant data (alphanumeric code, discount amount, expiry, etc.) and then could be associated to contacts somehow?

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Inbound Professor

Hi @ridingforlife! You could definitely create a Coupon object that has the properties you mentioned, and you could have it be associated to contacts (or to deals... or both!). I'd be curious to know more about how you would generate these coupons and what you would do with them once they exist. This is a pretty unique use case, and that has me feeling pretty excited!

Top Contributor

Hey @KyleJepson - appreciate all of the insight that you and the product team have shared here.

I've read through the threads and have skimmed through the Hubspot Academy collateral; apologies in advance if the questions below have been touched on and I just missed them:

 

1) Is there a way (or a plan) to view an overview of custom objects as a standalone list? Contacts, companies, deals, and tickets have their own dashboards and having such a view for a custom object would be incredible.

2) You mentioned above that custom objects can be pulled into marketing emails. It may already be an option with help on the development end but is it possible to pull custom objects onto a landing/website page without using HubDB?

3) Do custom objects integrate well with the external connector apps (Zapier, Integromat, etc.)?

 

Thanks for all of your help - super excited to get started here!

 

Regards,

Noam

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Inbound Professor

Hi @NCO! Great questions--here's my take:

 

  1. Custom objects each get their own index page, complete with filtering, sorting, creating views--everything you can do with contacts/companies. They don't, however, get their own spot in the main navigation (this is something we're mulling over--I don't know what the plan is, here). But you can get to them by navigating to contacts (or companies or...) and using the dropdown selector to find them. It looks like this:
    KyleJepson_0-1602004856714.png
  2. Yes! I believe this feature might currently be in beta, but there's a little bit of HUBL code you can put into your templates to pull in custom object (or standard object!) data. Sample use cases include real estate listings, job postings, etc. Documentation here: https://developers.hubspot.com/docs/cms/features/custom-objects
  3. This one, I don't know the answer to. The API endpoints are all there, but I don't know for sure if Zapier etc. have created anything with them yet. Hopefully someone else on the thread will be able to give you a more solid answer here.
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Top Contributor

Thanks for the quick responses Kyle - much appreciated as always!

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Top Contributor

@KyleJepson The coupon codes would have to come from our website platform so they will work for redemption. We are currently scoping out building an internal tool for that, as it's just batch generation but we want it on request. Then we'd hook that up to HubSpot so that a coupon code could be generated in a workflow (ex: contact enters workflow as it's their birthday, call made to generate coupon code, send back coupon code and store it to the contact, then send a marketing email to contact with coupon code details). My thinking with the custom object is would it be a better fit to store all the coupon information than on the contact record as custom properties?

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Inbound Professor

That makes sense to me. I agree that it would be better than using properties because then you can have more than one coupon associated to a contact. Also, we just today released an update to workflows that makes it possible to create custom-object records using workflows, so this could all work very nicely, I think.

Regular Contributor | Platinum Partner

Hi Adrienne, 

 

we've implemented custom objects for a client and he's an avid user of the Conversations Inbox as well. Both him and me now wonder why our custom object doesn't appear in the sidebar on the right within Conversations. All other objects are represented there for quick view and editing: Tickets, Deals and Company. Shouldn't custom objects be displayed there as well by default, or the option to get them to appear there? Could mean a huge win in the daily workflow of the client.

 

Looking forward to hearing what your thoughts are.

Thanks in advance!

 

Best, Ron



Ron Dukker
Marketing & CRM // Owner
HubSpot Platinum Partner

Conversion Crew
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
HubSpot Employee

Hi Ron / @ConversionCrew - This is a very fair thing to point out and something I'll surface to the Conversations team to ensure it's on their radar. As you might imagine, there are a lot of corners of HubSpot where Custom Objects should probably be reflected, and we are working hard to find any we've missed!

Regular Contributor | Platinum Partner

Hi Jeffrey, thanks! I can imagine custom objects having impact on lots of places in HubSpot. In general we can tell a lot of thought went into it already and it's working like a charm so far.



Ron Dukker
Marketing & CRM // Owner
HubSpot Platinum Partner

Conversion Crew
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Regular Contributor

Hi product team, 

 

Question regarding syncing information between systems. If we use a custom object for subscriptions, for example, and we need to integrate our HubSpot instance with another platform, which integration tools would we be able to use? PieSync? Zapier? 

 

Thanks!

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