Using Custom Objects Across the Hubs

Sometimes, businesses and their data don’t fit into standard buckets - or in HubSpot terms, standard objects. They need flexible CRMs that deliver enterprise-grade power. At INBOUND in September 2020, HubSpot launched a new feature called custom objects within the Enterprise tiered products. With custom objects, you can easily organize more information that you need to do your job, right inside your CRM. 

To get a better idea of how to use custom objects across product hubs, we hosted a panel as part of the INBOUND Debrief Series with our hub go-to-market leads to answer questions, talk about specific use cases, and more. You can watch the recording of the event here (starting at 09:45), or read on to learn more.


Let’s start with the basics

Custom objects create alternative ways to store your data. They allow users to bucket their data beyond the predefined HubSpot standard objects: contacts, companies, tickets, and deals. They’re set up within a specific HubSpot account and function just like standard objects. The person defining the object has control of the name, associated properties, and everything else that comes along with a standard object.

Custom objects differ from custom properties because they’re a completely separate record type from contacts, companies, etc., while custom properties are individual data points on an object. This article helps explain the difference.


How do I know if custom objects are a good fit for my client?

In deciding whether custom objects are necessary for your client’s business, ask yourself the following:

  • Are all their standard objects occupied by data? Is this data different and something specific?

  • Will this data change over time? If not, you likely can get away with a simpler solution.

  • Does this data represent a 1:1 relationship? If so, properties might be a better solution for storing it.

Take HubSpot for example. We have a long list of ideas for how we plan to use custom objects. A “hub” object, representing a subscription of our software, is going to be hugely helpful in putting customer data in the hands of internal teams.

At the end of the day, a CRM should be built around the company and their data - not the other way around. If the right fit, custom objects can give your clients huge amounts of untapped flexibility and control. But keep in mind, you’ll always want to be thoughtful in vetting each use case. The Sales Hub Implementation Certification covers this consideration process in more detail in the “How to Know if I Need It” section.


Use cases within each Hub


General use cases

Here are some buckets that common custom objects use cases can be grouped into: 

  • Physical goods like inventory, cars, parts or equipment

  • Items that expire such as licenses for software, contacts, subscriptions or purchases

  • Services delivered like projects or programs

  • Events

Now, lets dig into how different custom objects can be used within each hub.


Sales Hub

"With the introduction of custom objects, users can now plug everything they need into HubSpot, which prevents disparate data and provides customers with a better experience. This gives HubSpot the power to be a true CRM of record, which is a big step forward in being able to serve a wider, more sophisticated market."

- Jeff Russo, Director of Go-to-Market for Sales Hub


Hub use cases:

  • Tracking conversions: Collect conversion information where it’s happening on your site to understand how prospects are converting into qualified leads.

  • Automated usage alerts: Send product usage alerts to Customer Success reps when customers do (or don’t) use certain features in the software through a product usage custom object.

  • Tracking deals of complex or high value products: Some manufacturers may sell complex, expensive products or machinery that require regular service and check-ins from the manufacturer. The complexity of these products may go beyond the capability of HubSpot’s “Products” feature. For example, a “Drone” object record could represent a single drone model and associate with deal records, allowing teams to identify, segment and report on deals involving a particular drone model.


Marketing Hub

"Custom objects open up so many layers of personalization for CRM-driven marketing strategies. Users now have timely data that they can act on immediately with personalized marketing automation. This feature is also a great gateway to HubSpot for Salesforce users, because they can see the ease of using HubSpot while still keeping that power they’re used to getting with Salesforce."

- Elena Hekimian, Director, Go-to-Market for Marketing Hub


Hub use cases:

  • Account-based marketing: Establish associations between contacts or companies and your account-based marketing campaigns to go beyond first-touch attribution.

  • Email targeting: Using a webinar custom object, you can collect data specific to the events you’re hosting, such as each time a contact signs up for a webinar and whether they attended or not. This can help you accurately target your communications from right in HubSpot.

  • Email personalization: A “properties” custom object can help real estate agents unlock scalable personalization in email by gathering information on contact housing preferences so they can be automatically notified when a suitable property is on the market.

  • Forms: Custom object properties can be collected through forms, although the feature is currently in a private beta. If you’d like to request access to the beta for yourself or on behalf of a customer, please reach out to your CC for more information.


Service Hub

"Custom objects makes HubSpot robust, but still easy to use. When it comes to service organizations, custom objects help users split apart different functions within the organization, but still have everything together in one place to understand your service organization as a whole."

- Gayle Wheaton, Director, Go-to-Market for Service Hub


Hub use cases:

  • Collecting feedback: Use custom objects to measure how feedback from companies or contacts changes over time and differs across the company to better understand how to improve your customer experience

  • Onboarding: With onboarding as a custom object, you can separate onboarding information from ticket information in the sidebar, for easy and fast access. When it comes to reporting, you want to be able to report on data points like customer health, CSAT, revenue, activation, and how many tickets are associated with an onboarding project. With a custom object, you can pull these metrics to make sure you’re providing great service and figure out where you can do better. 

  • Personalization with chat bots: Use a custom object workflow to copy a custom object property value to a contact property, which could then be used to personalize messages that a chat bot is sending. 



"CMS Hub with custom objects opens the door to build powerful, personalized websites. They create a magical data loop, in which people interact on your website and feed data into HubSpot that then helps internal teams make operational decisions to change what’s displayed on the website, so it’s even better when users visit again. Plus, with CMS Hub, it’s easy for marketers to take action on this data without needing the help of a developer."

- Luke Summerfield, Go-to-Market Lead for CMS Hub


Hub use cases:

  • Custom object module fields: This allows content editors to select an instance of a CRM object to display or execute logic based on its value. For example, you may want to display information on a specific product, contact, company, deal, quote or ticket.

  • Updating your website: Use workflows to update content on your website using custom object data.

  • Website personalization: Surface relevant content to your users based on custom objects and fields. For example, maybe a real estate agent wants to show relevant listings to their clients and prospects. With a property listing custom object, each real estate listing record can have its own properties, such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, asking price, and other home features. This data can then be used on your website to serve up the most relevant listings based on a contact's preferences.


Be sure to share these resources with your developers: 


What opportunities do custom objects open up for partners?

For starters, seek out opportunities with new or existing clients where HubSpot hasn’t been as robust of a solution for their needs in the past. Custom objects are often table stakes in enterprise-level CRM deals, and this addition may change the conversation. Additionally, think about new use cases that custom objects open up with existing clients, like stronger website personalization.

You can also deepen your technical skills in working with custom objects. Salesforce already has a lot of existing integrations for custom objects and custom CRM environments within their platform. Those are additions we plan to lean on partners to help make a reality for HubSpot custom objects.


Looking for more? In this custom objects Academy lesson, you'll learn how to best represent your data in Sales Hub and how to organize it using CRM extensions, custom properties, custom objects, and more.