When are HubSpot custom objects a good fit and when not?
By Sacha Holmes - June 17, 2022
The introduction of custom objects has opened up a world of new possibilities inside HubSpot. But how do you know if they are a good fit for your organisation and its data schema?
What are HubSpot custom objects and how are they different to standard objects?
With HubSpot’s familiar standard objects the data management structure used by a business can include contacts, companies, deals, tickets and products, each with its own default properties.
Custom objects 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 are custom objects a good fit?
Custom objects are best used when no standard object fulfils the specific scenario’s data needs. Standard objects work with several automation features that simplify and enhance data management, such as lifecycle stages, workflows, forms, emails, lists, deals, sequences, forecasting, reports and surveys.
Contact object properties can be used to trigger automated marketing emails within workflows;
Company object properties have the Insights database enabled and can be used to automate your Target Account marketing;
Deal object properties are used in your forecasting and to automate deal stages; and
Ticket object properties are used in the automatic creation of tickets and customer survey sends.
Therefore, it’s imperative to know if custom objects are necessary before they’re used in your data schema.
Estee Hall, Struto's Head of Customer Success says
"When we are discussing whether custom objects are right for a client, the biggest trigger to knowing whether you need a custom object should be the identification of whether a relationship between information is one-to-one or one-to-many"
How to determine if custom objects are a good fit for your Business?
Example 1 - do you use one or multiple email clients in your business?
If you are trying to determine whether you should use a standard or custom object for storing information on the email client that your company uses, you would look at whether this would be one value or multiple values. Do you use one or multiple email clients for your 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 you use.
Example 2 - keeping track of student certifications
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.
Only create custom objects if they are necessary
While you can 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.
When are custom objects not a good fit?
When they would cause a loss of these standard object features or can easily be tracked with custom properties against one of the standard objects.
For example, a university needs to track information on their students, parents, alumni and staff. Creating a custom object for each type of contact is not a good idea because:
This can easily be tracked with a Contact Type property (drop-down or multi-select)
You would lose the ability to send marketing emails to these groups, unless you duplicate records by creating, for example, a student record AND a contact record.
Key questions and considerations
Are custom objects necessary in your data schema?
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.
Don’t go out of your way to create them unless you know they are necessary.