Workflow actions that can update properties across different (associated) object types.

BenettB

Our company uses your workflows HEAVILY, but we are constantly having to work around one major limitation: The workflows can only change properties on one type of HubSpot object. For example, if you start a ticket-based workflow, you can only change a ticket property. But there are often contacts, company records, and even deals that are associated with that ticket, and it would be extremely useful to us if we could update properties on those associated records right from the same workflow. Something that happens in a ticket, for example, OFTEN impacts a property that "lives" on the contact record, or company record, but we can't even trigger a workflow on that other record, let alone update the property.

 

We understand this is probably a challenging thing to accomplish because it would likely require the workflows to have the ability to perform a relational query in order to cross-reference and update different objects. But without this capability, we often find that we have to rely heavily on our developer to go the last mile (using APIs and other custom software) - just to make two related things in your database "talk" to each other. 

 

The other option we currently use to accomplish what we need to do is use your reporting tool, which does at least let us run reports on two item types. With this tool, we have to build a report that helps us find the records that have gotten out of sync (because they couldn't update automatically), and then go to the records and update them manually.

 

Asking our sales team to update lots of properties manually doesn't help me sell the benefit of HubSpot to that team - I've received feedback from them that it just makes their interactions with HubSpot feel like busywork.

4 Replies
zeke
HubSpot Product Team

Hi @BenettB ! Just so I understand, do you mean that when, say, you have a ticket enrolled in a workflow, you'd like all deals associated with it to have a property updated? I might be missing something but this should be doable today with the Set or Copy property actions. It won't allow you to set WHICH associated deals, but it sounds like that's not a requirement in your case.

BenettB
Participant

@zekeThanks for looking at this post and the reply.

 

Firstly, yes it looks like you are right - I went back to some of our existing workflows and see that the set and copy property actions let me change properties on other objects that are already associated. Is this a somewhat recent addition? It seems like when we set up many of our workflows a while back that this wasn't available. I will certainly look at how we might be able to update our workflows further using these tools for the cases where we already have the associations in place.

 

Secondly, and to your point that we cannot set or create associations within the workflow, this is still part of the issue. The reason why we already have associations between objects in some of our workflows is because our developer was able successfully use API endpoints and a lot of external programming to create those interconnecting associations for us. These associations would not have been possible if we were relying on HubSpot alone. (As a simple example: It is frustrating that when a customer provides a company name on a ticket form, we cannot use a workflow tool to search for and link the company name from the ticket to a company record.)

 

So while I am happy that SINCE we are making the associations between the different objects outside of HubSpot, I can at least use your suggestion to update/change properties on those associations - this does resolve the issue that I posted about. But we still had to do much work on our own for this to be a working solution - and if and when the associations are not made already (either manually, or through an external method) we are still unable to update records that might be related. But I guess that is a different topic/request.

 

Thanks again.

zeke
HubSpot Product Team

I hear you! This has been around for some time now, but it's certainly possible that you were operating on a workflow in the old system, which we have been migrating over the last three years. Either way, these usecases you bring up are precisely where we're headed with our associations work! I'm glad to hear you'd have a solid use case for it. I think you're right that we should build a way to create associations with Workflows so I'm going to be adding this to our usecase list.

 

I think you're right that we should be making many of these interactions doable so I'm grateful for the detail you gave us. I'll try to update this thread once we get further into these projects.

BenettB
Participant

@zekethanks! It's good to know that the area of inter-object associations is being worked on! We'll be the first in line.