34 min read

HubSpot custom properties, objects, and groups 101 + best practices (HubHeroes Podcast, Ep. 8)

Are you ready to have your mind blown? I'm being 100% serious with you right now in asking that question. If you have HubSpot, and you're looking for ways to have more feel more ownership, power, and value from your investment, are you ready to have your mind blown?

Because that is exactly what is about to happen in this episode. 

On the surface, the topic may seem important, but still transactional – we're unpacking HubSpot custom properties, objects, and groups in a way that's never been done before. But what many of you may not realize is that understanding these key pieces of your HubSpot puzzle can unlock customizations that make your marketing and sales automations significantly effective and dialed-in. 

Undeniably powerful, yet woefully misunderstood, HubSpot custom properties, objects, and groups are the building blocks you need to master to streamline your processes, enable your teams to work more efficiently (and with better data at their fingertips), and create better reporting that empowers you to make smarter decisions faster.

And this episode is going to teach you how to do just that. Are you excited? I know I am. 

WE ALSO TALK ABOUT ... 

  • How the idea of customization isn't as transactional as it sounds. Your customizations are so much bigger than that – they are your power, they are how you optimize, they are how you achieve true ownership.
  • The difference between smart customizations and going overboard, because you can go too far down the rabbit hole with customizations, even with the best of intentions. You'll end up wasting time and creating scenarios in which it's hard to dig yourself back out to sunlight. 
  • What questions you should be asking yourself as you customize, from realigning with your objectives, to the real story you're trying to tell with your data.
  • The basics of properties and how much they influence your automation capabilities – a quick primer for those who may be new to the HubSpot CRM that you don't want to miss. Understanding this connection is essential. 
  • What you need to know about migrating from one system to another (e.g., Salesforce to HubSpot), and why you shouldn't try to duplicate exactly what you had or bring every single piece over.
  • The four things you absolutely must think about when creating HubSpot properties that will make the work you do more impactful.
  • What you need to know about HubSpot groups and custom objects, including how to use them! (Max also shares where he gets the most pushback!)

Whew ... and that's not even everything we talk about! So, grab your notepads and pump up the volume – because, for those of you out there who are craving a virtual, all-you-can-eat buffet of ACTIONABLE HubSpot strategics and insights, we hope you're hungry! 

NOW, LISTEN TO THIS WEEK'S EPISODE

RESOURCES FOR THIS EPISODE

Some of these we talked about, others we're adding because they're only going to make the episode that much sweeter for you ... 

YOUR ONE THING FROM THIS EPISODE

Although this episode, by design, digs deeply into the essential execution strategies and tactics you need to know to nail HubSpot custom properties, objects, and groups, don't lose sight of the big picture.

It doesn't matter if you're already fully enmeshed in HubSpot, just about to make the leap from another platform, or starting from scratch – use this episode as a catalyst to challenge your status quos. What can you rethink or do differently that will help you work smarter and get better results? What are the things that fall under "the way it's always been done" that need to be retired?

 

TRANSCRIPTION OF THE SHOW

George B. Thomas (01:09):

I hope that it's not lost on anybody. You know, you listen to podcasts for a while. You hear the intro at first, you like the intro's cool. I hope it's not lost on anybody that the intro we literally say educate and execute and, and the key is execution. And the reason I'm bringing that up today is cuz I wanna set the mindset for the listeners around this idea of execution because today the topic, the big idea is we're gonna talk about HubSpot customization or customizing your HubSpot hubs, your kind of CRM your ecosystem. Because again, when I've been doing historical training, one of the things that I always try to tell people, especially during the onboarding process is look, I want you to start this, having this mindset of wrapping the CRM, wrapping HubSpot around your business, versus trying to cram your business into a SAS software because that never works out.

If you're just trying to like shove it in there. But if you can, if you can make it work for your business, cuz your business is different than any other than you're gonna have more success. Now, before we dive too deep into this, I kind of had some off the wall questions as I typically do with our episodes. And so max and, and Devin, I just wanna start with the question of in your minds and not even specific to HubSpot, but just in general, what is the power of customization or by customizing things? What power have you seen released in the world in your life? What are your thoughts?

 

What is the true power of customization with HubSpot?

Devyn Bellamy (02:38):

I am a home automation nerd. I have a ton of disparate systems and different brands that control different aspects of my house. For me, the customization aspect comes into creating a hub that controls everything and that I can go in and literally just tell my house, turn off downstairs. And it turns off all the lights downstairs, regardless of what ecosystem they're in. And it is just about making my house fit me that when I talk, it does exactly what I

George B. Thomas (03:11):

Want. Yeah. I love this because Devin, we are kindred spirits. I'll never forget when I actually added smart lights to my bedroom and I was like, turn off his light, turn off her light. And my wife was like, you lazy? And I was like, no, I'm cool. <Laugh> I am cool. Like I have all the power with my voice. And so I love that. Max, when you think about customization or the power of customizing, where does your brain go? Well,

Max Cohen (03:38):

I customized the settings on my C P a machine last night. So that was fun. You know, no one likes a dry mouth for any sleep apnea sufferers out there. I mean the biggest thing for me over the past three years, I think since COVID hit and transitioned from never working from home to working from home full time, I think the biggest theme of customization kind of in my world has just been my work from home set up and kind of getting it into a place that serves a lot of different purposes for the, the hobbies and the work that I do and the stuff that I'm into. You know, I've got everything from my little soundboard. That's like super easy for me to use. I got my El Gado stream deck for anyone who is looking for like quick little shortcut buttons. That'll do different things, whether you're gaming or you're working, it does a lot of really cool stuff.

You can kind of customize it and tweak it to, to run a lot of cool commands on your computer. Everything from like my headset to the camera that I'm using to how I've changed my display set up 4,700 times since I've had this desk, I'm always kind of like trying to find it and tweak it. And I think I'm finally at a point where I'm just, I don't really know what else I would do. Like I'm finally happy with it, which is cool, but it took me three years to kind of get to a place where it's like, all right, this works for me.

George B. Thomas (04:40):

And again, again, I think we're brothers from another mother because I literally ask myself, do I need two more monitors? And I, I heard myself the other day. This is about a week ago. Tell my wife, I don't think there's anything else that I wanna buy. And then I gasp, oh my God, did those words just come outta my mouth. But the setup, like you said, it's, it's very, you know, it's there, it's there. But here's the thing. The reason I bring this up is because Devin max me when we're saying these things, if you break it down to fundamental principles, it's because Devin wanted to have the power from downstairs to upstairs. Max, you wanna streamline your process, right? I just wanna make life easier. It's it's these things. The reason we usually typically customize things is because we wanna streamline. We wanna optimize.

We want power. Although some of the customization is because we just want it to feel like it's ours. We want ownership of it. And ladies and gentlemen, you need to have ownership of your HubSpot hubs. You need to streamline your HubSpot hubs. You need all the power so that you can get all the ROI. So let's go ahead and dive into this and get into the good stuff. So listen, here's the thing. When you think about DevX customizing now more specifically HubSpot as a historical trainer, cuz by the way, I know we've all seen the good, the bad and the, oh my God. What did you just do moments. But when you think of customizing HubSpot as a historical trainer, where do your thoughts go to kind of set off this HubSpot customization conversation?

 

There is such a thing as going too far with your customizations

Max Cohen (06:14):

When, when I think about HubSpot, when it comes to customization, the thing that I always say is HubSpot is very customizable, but I always like to think of it as customization on guardrails, which means you can customize it a whole ton, but it'll probably never get to the point where like you can't call up support and we don't know how to S like support you on it.

That's kind of a good thing. There's other tools out there that you can customize literally into the ground and have a really hard time recovering from that. For me, I like the kind of analogy you used. How do you wrap HubSpot around your business? I always just called it wrapping the HubSpot blanket of love around your business. Right? So it kind of, it's funny how we kind of made that same parallel when it comes to customization.

It's always just like, listen, don't overdo it. Try your best to understand what's already in there and make parallels to whatever it is you're trying to represent before you try to reinvent the wheel. I know like we'll talk about objects later. For example, if it's some sort of monetary transaction, I always try to get people to try to represent that as deals instead of like creating some other crazy kind of object for it. If it's a person, it should always be a contact, no matter what. There's no reason to have duplicate human records in there. For me, it's customized as much as you need to, but also just try to do your best to kind of simplify it as much as you can. So you don't go overboard cuz then that can just make it inconvenient for you. For

Devyn Bellamy (07:25):

Me, when it comes to customization, always just go back to storytelling as it pertains to reporting. And what are you looking at accomplishing? What information you trying to gather? What kind of story you trying to tell, as far as the data's concerned, as far as when someone enters your CRM, the journey they take while interacting with your business through to completion, if the existing fields and objects don't accomplish, that you can piece it together and make 'em work, or you can add custom fields or custom properties and objects in order to make things work.

But as max said, it can turn into a rabbit hole. You can go down this hole of over customization and then you have four different properties that explain the subtle nuances of one customer that you're never going to use again. And then you have another property, which is the newer version of the old property, but then you haven't created a workflow to move the information over and remap it from the old format and the old property to the new format because you decided the new property needs to be a dropdown where the last one was just a text entry.

It can turn into like a really big, annoying mess. And sometimes that's unavoidable. Unfortunately, sometimes that's the cost of CRM evolution in, in architecture evolution. It's just gonna happen. But the key is, is to not get too deep in the weeds and keep your eye on the story that you're trying, trying to tell the data that you're trying to accomplish, what you're trying to communicate to everyone who's using the system as well as the decision

George B. Thomas (09:01):

Makers. It's interesting Devin, cuz to hear you say that my brain goes in a couple different directions, one to get where you need to go, you're gonna have to kill what you once had and you have to be able to embrace the messy middle and understand that there's gonna be that moment, but you can clean it up later, but more importantly, that all roads end at reporting. And I wish more people when they turned on the HubSpot switch would immediately be like, what am I trying to report on? What historically haven't I been able to report on what can I create or build in HubSpot, customize in my hub to allow me to report on those things. And I think this is a great place to jump off with the conversation around HubSpot properties. And so when I think about HubSpot properties, it's like shoulds and should nots, you know, the best practices.

It's cool things that you've seen or done historically. And it's kind of horror stories. That's I think the journey that we're going down over the next 10, 15 or so minutes that's if we get out of properties, this might be a seven series. I don't, no, it won't be, we're gonna do good at this <laugh> we just decided about properties, but here's the thing I'm gonna go last. Because for me, I teach this session called HubSpot ecosystem. It's centered around properties and what it unlocks and enables you to do. But when you guys think about properties, the should, should not best practices things. You've seen horror stories. What comes to mind?

 

"Wait, I'm new to the HubSpot CRM, can you catch me up on the basics of properties?"

Max Cohen (10:28):

Why don't we start real quick for anyone who's new to HubSpot are new to CRM in general. Let's clearly define what we mean by properties. Hubspots CRM, customer relationship management tool. It's what HubSpot is. It has a number of objects in it. Contacts, which are people, companies, which are companies deals, which is representing you selling something to someone and then tickets, which is representing you, helping someone with something, right? It's like the easiest way to think about it. Each one of these objects has their own set of properties, which are bits of information about that object. So for example, I'm max, I'm a human, I could be a contact in your database. And my first name is max. That's a property. My last name is max. That's a property, right? So first name, last name, email, phone number, any bits of information you have about someone you would consider those properties, same thing for companies, deals, tickets and any custom objects that you make in terms of like the should or the should nots, best practices, things like that.

Whenever you're like building a new custom property in HubSpot, always have a reason behind it. It's really annoying. Like when you start building up a bunch of properties that have no functional use. And when I say functional use, that means either like, Hey, it exists. So it can be seen on a record by a human being, whether it's like a sales rep or a service rep, they need to see that information, reference that information in order to do their job, you may need it for segmentation purposes. So if you're a marketer and you wanna be able to like put together an email list or, or some sort of ad audience or something along those lines, it's a bit of information you can can use to segment those contact. You could also be using it for reporting purposes because if it's a data point and HubSpot, which most of the time we're talking about properties, when we're thinking about data points that you're reporting on, it can help you there.

Or if you were gonna trigger any sort of automation, for example, you may use properties to do that. The fun little thing that I always like to tell people is 99% of being really, really good at HubSpot is really having a good grip on properties and how data flows in and out of them and how you use them creatively. So don't sleep on properties whatsoever. One of my biggest pet peeves, I'll give one little kind of thing that I see a lot of people do that really should. If you just think a couple steps ahead, you know, won't be a problem. Oftentimes we see people building properties only when they're building forms or right when they're about to create a form and they go, oh, I wanna ask this question on a form, but there isn't a property that exists for it yet. So what they do is they go create a property.

And the way they're gonna write the question on the form, which could be like a long, complete sentence with a question mark at the end of it. And it may be it's a, you know, whatever type of, yeah. Devin's point at arena, cuz he knows this. They end up naming the property, this giant long sentence. And what sucks about that is that if you're a user in the tool and you're like a sales rep or a service rep, and you're looking at a record and on the left hand side where you see all these properties, it's this big, giant mess of words and you know it truncates in and it just looks ugly. Think of first, when you create a property, what do you want to call that property in HubSpot? If you were someone looking at it and needing to get that information and you wanted to keep it a low amount of words and clean and easy to understand when you put properties on forms, cuz remember contact properties are what you put on forms.

When you put forms on your website, they're directly connected. You can change what the question is. It doesn't have to just be the name of the property. So we talked about persona a while ago. That's the name of a property. But when you put that persona field on a form, you can change the question to say what best describes you, but you don't wanna see what best describes you in your CRM. You wanna just see the word persona above that property. Just think a couple steps ahead on how you're gonna use it. So you name it properly. And then when you're putting it on forms, you can ask whatever question you want to get an answer to it.

George B. Thomas (14:04):

I gotta jump in here. Devon, I'm gonna go to you for a second. But max, as you were talking, I was like, you know what a dope HubSpot wishlist item would be is if I could create a property and actually set what I wanted the CRM value to be and what I wanted the form value to be. Here's the thing where the heck is anybody gonna document the fact that it it's this, but this is the question we always want to ask. And so if you could literally have it in the same place and have the options, that would be super dope. But ne nevertheless, this is not the HubSpot wishlist episode. Oh, maybe I should go add that to our template of future episodes. Devin, what are your thoughts? When we have this conversation around properties,

 

When it comes to customizations, don't try to duplicate a different system in HubSpot

Devyn Bellamy (14:46):

Literally everything max said 100%, all that stuff. Another way also just going back on, if you don't understand properties and objects, if you're like old school access or just SQL just a database person, the objects are tables and the properties are the different columns. Yay. That's it. All right. Moving on the way that you should, that I always tell people to start looking at properties is one don't try and, and I'll say it slowly.

Don't try to duplicate what another system did. Don't try to turn HubSpot into MailChimp. Don't try to bring over everything, all the properties that you had. If you're doing the Salesforce migration in the HubSpot, don't just bring everything over. You'll find that a lot of that is completely unnecessary. You'll find that some of the fields are deprecated, meaning that you no longer use them. So those are also things to keep in mind when it comes to property creation.

But something I think that you should always do when creating properties is. And, and I'll go back to that whole storytelling thing, create space within your CRM to capture data that can be pulled later for reference, but don't go, man. I, I almost feel like I shouldn't have said that because now people are like, oh, I need more properties. No, no, no, you, don't not, not to that extent. There are different properties you can use. Oh and, and don't have just one notes thing to rule them all for your forms. Oh my goodness. Don't do that because it's gonna, it's gonna turn out badly. Their old things are gonna show up. People are gonna take notes and just, just create a different property for the other or, or, or just don't do other, make really purpose built forms that it's clear what the person's intentions and needs are. So you don't have to create all these additional notes fields. I have been in so many CRMs where there's like 12 different notes or 12 different others fields. And we don't know what they're attached to or what they mean, no context there at all. Don't stop

Max Cohen (16:59):

It. The other kind of like real big general thing that I would say is when you can use dropdown or Multicheck box or some sort of like predetermined answer field and really only use single line text or like open text fields. Only if you have to do your best as much as you can to make it so people can just drop down and like select an answer for you. Because when it comes down to reporting, it's really hard to report on fields that are open text one. That's really difficult. The other thing that I will mention a little plug here, if you will, for operations hub, there is now this thing called the data quality command center that you can check out, which will give you statistic on the properties that either look like duplicates aren't being used or have no data in them. So if you are in a place where you're stepping into a maybe messy HubSpot portal and you know, there's like a significant amount of work to do to clean up maybe some unused properties or some misused properties that data quality command center in the operations hub can really help you out.
Max Cohen (18:00):
Oh,

George B. Thomas (18:00):

I love the addition of that. And Devin man purpose built forms, huh? Say it ain't so come on, let's go. I love that portion. So here's the thing what's funny is, and again, I've taught hundreds of people about HubSpot properties and I'll never forget the first time when I taught properties. And then the person on the other side of the camera said, but where do I create HubSpot form fields, ladies and gentlemen, a field is a property. A property is a field. They are one and the same in HubSpot. Hopefully you understand that, but if you are new to HubSpot, I have to say that thing that a field is a property and a property is a field. Now here's the thing. And again, when you usually go into HubSpot, it is this mindset of, well, I need to create properties because I need to add things to a form because I wanna add these questions, but let me just say one of the things that I wish I could get out to the entire ecosystem of anybody using HubSpot is when you first turn on your HubSpot hub and you start to think about building properties, there's really four major things that you should be thinking about pertaining to creating properties.

 

4 things you must think about when creating HubSpot properties

Number one, what properties do I need to create that will allow me to report on the things that I haven't historically been able to report on. So let me get those in place. Let me start capturing that data because then I can report on it.

Number two, what list segmentation do I need so that I can actually create proper communication with the people that need to hear the messages based on the properties that I now have created and the dropdown or multiselect that they can select. So reporting and communication.

Number three, the triggers that my team actually needs to do some type of automation. For instance, we all know that we can go into lead status. It's a default property by HubSpot. We can customize that and we can make magical things happen. If somebody is not a good fit, put 'em on this list so we can delete 'em every quarter or whatever, but what are the actions, the triggers that need to happen inside the CRM records that you can have those properties that enable that for your team to do and kind of streamline their process.

And then of course, last but not least, what are the questions that you need to ask that allow you to better serve the humans that are coming to your website to solve their problems? So think about that next time. You're in your HubSpot hub. Do I have the properties for reporting? Do I have the properties for proper list segmentation? Do I have the properties for streamline triggers in the CRM? And am I asking the right questions?

That's how you need to put your brain around HubSpot properties and the way that you should be leveraging the moving forward. Now, speaking of that, I'm going to dive in real quick to end Devin. You said, oh, I shouldn't have said that. Like, I don't want you to think that you need to create a lot of properties, but at the end of the day, if you listen to what I just said, said, you will create a lot of properties, but you'll create the needed properties.

There is one feature that people forget to use in HubSpot. And that is this little thing called groups. Now, why would you not use groups?

If HubSpot has groups, it literally is a file folder structure for the data management that you are putting into HubSpot. And so one of the ways I like to teach this is think about a real world example, which by the way, I know some of you might be like a library. What is that? But if you think about a library, it's a building, a library, HubSpot, and then you go in and you actually have categories. You have fiction non-fiction, whatever that right there, the Dewey decimal system, that's groups, because you might actually have contact information, conversion information, or God forbid that you actually do something cool. Like let me create a HubSpot landing page, do a simple survey with some HubSpot properties.

And then you just let, 'em just lay on the floor instead of creating a group that is survey questions. And now you can go into the system and see here's the 7, 10, 12, 13 survey questions we've historically created because we actually can organize them. Now, that's the way that I look at and talk about it. But when you guys think about customizing HubSpot, we've talked about properties. How have you guys talked about or used groups along with this kind of data structure

 

What you need to know about HubSpot Groups and custom objects (and how to use them)

Max Cohen (21:59):

Groups for me really kind of falls into the conversation of make sure you have HubSpot set up for the next person that takes your job. You're eventually gonna get promoted. You're eventually gonna go get your dream job. You're eventually going to move on from administering this HubSpot portal. It's really important to ensure that everything you're building is very descriptive and you have descriptions of what they are and you categories of what you're creating. So when it comes to properties, one layer that you can do that is with groups where you can say, all right, this property that I'm building, yeah, it's gonna be on contact records, but it's this contact information. Is this analytics information? Is it some other category I've created? So you can kind of give a description of what type of data this is. I see too many people like just choose the existing groups that are there, not care about the organization and make a huge mess of it.

So then the next person comes in and they have like a harder time figuring out what all this information for is for and how it's used. The other kind of thing that goes along with that. And this kind of has to do with properties in terms of best practices. Please write descriptions. You have an option to put in a description of what the property is for. And that is going to be so helpful when other people are using that property. Or if someone comes in and takes over the administration of that portal and they want to know what that property is used for. So please use your descriptions, use your property groups, make it easier for the next person and all your colleagues to get stuff done with what you've built.

Devyn Bellamy (23:19):

So my take on groups is use them, use them and then use them. They, as you expand your, your CRM and add properties, I can tell you that there will come a point where you need to go and look at your properties and you're going to wanna sort through your properties. And it's going to be nightmare fuel trying to find properties because you're going to have hundreds of them in some cases, thousands. And that's scary thought, but if you're in an enterprise CRM, it's possible. The thing is, is that you want to group them, especially by integration. That is a huge one. This is where you can get really buried is if you're bringing in new properties from integrations, put those in their own categories. If you're doing a Salesforce data migration, make a group for the Salesforce legacy properties. So you can find those easily.

And also it's not only gonna help you when you're digging through on your backend for properties, it's gonna help you when you're making forms too, because you may not necessarily remember the name of a property, but you'll know what it has to do with or where I might live. It's just gonna make it a lot easier to drill down on data. It's also just good housekeeping. Good housekeeping should be at the top of everything you do in your CRM. Because like max said, someone eventually is gonna have to come in behind you and deal with this. Just like you wouldn't leave your house dirty. You wouldn't leave your bathroom dirty. If you were expecting company just clean up after yourself a little bit, please and groups are a wonderful way to

George B. Thomas (24:52):

Do that. I love that you mention housekeeping and keeping your house clean. You know, here's the thing, gentlemen, sometimes you actually, you outgrow your house. You need to actually build another room. You need to, you know, maybe you need a third bathroom cuz now you've had like two daughters or something. I don't know what your situation is, but that's where the next thing that we're gonna talk about. Yeah. Max is like, yes, I am speaking from experience. That's where the next topic though, that we're gonna kind of jump into is custom objects. And again, there are some really bad reasons for custom objects and there's some really good reasons for custom objects. And so I really wanna just dive down maybe a again from this starting mentality, this always educating mentality. How have you talked about custom objects and where do you initially lean or have you seen more times than not? It ends up being these two or these three things that companies are now applying custom objects for

Max Cohen (25:51):

Hubspot comes sort of preloaded with four big main objects, right? You've got contacts which are people, companies, which are businesses deals, which are sales tickets, which are you helping someone with something or delivering a service or whatever when it comes to a custom object, the reason you would use a custom object is when you have some sort of data or some other type of object that you can't neatly fit into one of those categories. So again, my biggest rule of thumb is that if it's a human being, it should be a contact always. And sometimes I get pushback from people saying, oh, well, you know, some people are, are customers. And then some people we call like partners and they're like consultants that we work with. And it's like, well, are they human beings? It's like, yes. Okay. Well, I mean, if you create another object for like a human, then potentially you are gonna have two different records in there, one contact record and then some other record for the same exact person.

And that can get really messy really quick. And also you gotta remember contacts have certain superpowers, you can send emails to them, all that kind of stuff. You can't send an email to a custom object. It's not like a, a person. And plus you're gonna, you lose like de-duplication off a email address and you know, none of the website analytics are gonna map to it and like all that kind of stuff. Again, biggest rule of thumb is see if the thing you're trying to represent can fit into one of the standard objects. If it can't that's when you wanna start thinking about a custom object. So for example, I see a lot of people do this. When they're doing franchise model, I might be a company that sells to McDonald's, but then McDonald's might have a bunch of different locations and I wanna be able to sell to all those hundreds or thousands of locations.

So in that case, I'm not building a whole bunch of company records for McDonald's because that wouldn't make sense, cuz there's really just one McDonald's company. But if I want to be able to attribute deals to a specific location or have contacts associated to a specific location, instead of the headquarters, I could build like a franchise object or a location object. And what's cool about that is I can go look at the McDonald's company object and then see all the different locations next to it. For example, you know, whenever you have to have something that doesn't really kind of fit into those already existing records, then go with a custom object. One thing to think about is you can only do custom objects when you're at an enterprise level. So that's something to kind of plan for. You gotta have enterprise of either marketing sales or service hub and also like just don't go crazy. Not everything should be a custom object. Sometimes you're talking about using existing objects, but then just using different properties to differentiate them versus creating whole new objects

Devyn Bellamy (28:26):

For them. Listen, man, custom objects is a whole nother thing. One thing to keep in mind is think hard about whether or not you need, they, you can get real creative with existing objects and fresh properties to accomplish your goal. One of the things that I've used it for is a franchise model where what we did was basically used one property that identified the franchise that lead belonged to and used automation to auto populate, other properties that not only populated information on the record itself, but then took that information and dropped it in email. So we could create one email instead of one for each franchise. It was just one email that would, autopopulate a signature based on the franchise that the contact belonged to that's when you get like really creative and out of the box, thinking the reason why you want to think really hard about whether or not you need custom objects and try and maximize existing objects through full potential is because the more custom objects you add, the more exponentially ways that you can mess up your data and you can do so many disservices to your ability to report to your ability to track.

There are certain use cases where custom objects absolutely make sense for instance, real estate. When you're looking at properties that have a potentially a many to one relationship with your contacts and companies doesn't quite work for it. So in that case, you want to look at a possible locations, custom object, but there are ways when you can really basically barrier yourself in bad data. And so what you want to do is consult an expert, get with a professional architect or an agency who has done HubSpot architecture before, because we talked about two different things. Talk about HubSpot administration, which is just working in HubSpot and keeping your data clean. When you're talking about adding on to the other thing, then we're getting into architecture and database relationships and ERD diagrams and all that stuff. And that's when you start getting into the thick of it all in deeper waters. And so unless you have history or experience building database and relationships between custom objects, it's definitely something you want to pair with an expert on.

George B. Thomas (30:42):

I love all that you guys have said. There's a couple things that I want to throw in on this one because a I'm, I'm kind of passionate and max like you, I do have conversations a lot with potential clients and clients about when they should or shouldn't. So a couple things I said this earlier, all roads go back to reporting. I would say the road that branches off of reporting is actually automation or streamlining your process. But here's the thing when I think about custom objects, that is really where my brain goes is what are we gonna need to report on? Because we're adding this additional custom object. And so yes, max, like you said, many times, I'll say if it's something just fundamentally different. Yes. However, I love to have this conversation around vendors, partners, affiliates, things like that, where it's like a human, but it's almost straddling a different set of data that doesn't really have anything to do with the human, but has to do with something that the human is doing or is part of, there's nothing wrong with having a vendor partner or affiliate custom object, but it doesn't need to be a contact duplicated.

First name, last name, email job title company. None of that junk needs to be in there. It needs to be anything related with the affiliate

Devyn Bellamy (31:48):

I wanted to add when it comes to affiliate vendor partner, those kinds of things, there are ways to make it work with the existing objects. The only time that I recommend looking at a custom object is when your vendor partners affiliates have to have relationships with other contact records, if they're their own individual thing, that's one thing. But in relationship with contact records, it can make a lot more sense to do a custom object in that instance. But if you're looking at two different systems, for instance, let's say you're an energy drink. I mean, you have a lot of different gamers that basically use sponsor or have affiliate links at that point. It doesn't make sense to have them as a different custom object. Cuz all you're doing is just creating more of a headache for yourself. What you can do is have them as a contact record, add their affiliate links because there's no direct relationship within your CRM between them and in other contacts within your database. But if contacts at any point need to interact with each other and the company doesn't work well enough for you at that point, I'd recommend looking at a different custom object.

George B. Thomas (32:54):

And I love that because actually Devin in your diving into that, you brought up a second point that I wanted to make that so many times has forgotten. Everybody will think about a custom object and just creating the custom object, but they don't stop long enough to think. What should that custom object associate to? Should it associate to contact? Should it associate to deals, should it associate to companies or is it something else that it cuz at the end of the day, you wanna see where your data collides again, all roads back to reporting, where does the data collide? How can I see how contacts and location and whatever go together in that manner? So here's the thing. What I want you to do is, and I'm gonna pass it back off to max because you can't see this, you're listening to the podcast, but max is officially raised his hand to be like, I wanna eaten next.

But what I want you to think about is there's this happy medium of kind of what we're air quotes selling here of be careful and don't create too many, but there's also this world of it could be a whole lot of different things. And so I would be remiss if I didn't mention Remington bag and impulse creative historically worked there. And there's literally some YouTube videos that you can go watch where it's a understanding custom objects. Hopefully you kind of understand them now by listening to us, but there's a video there, but then object ideas, as far as referral partners, a conversion object, sales resources, object, a service object, a membership object, an onboarding object, a course object. There are these different things that you might be providing that might be a right fit for you, but you've gotta dig in. You've gotta think, is it right? Is it not right? Again, all of it is about streamlining your process, not making a remember HubSpot is crafted. So why would you come in and cobble it? I'm just gonna throw that out there real quick. Use some hubs, spotty words, max, what are your thoughts?

Max Cohen (34:41):

Only thing I want to add here too, because a lot of the times I'm always thinking about who are the humans in front of the computer screen, looking at HubSpot and what are they doing? So a big piece, especially when you're thinking about service or sales reps, a lot of the times people are creating custom objects because they go, oh, my sales rep needs to be able to like see this data inside of HubSpot. And you can do that with a custom object. Obviously they'll see that data inside a HubSpot, but there are also more advanced ways to see data in HubSpot from another system without storing it in HubSpot. Now. So here's the thing, there's this other API that you can use if you have access to a developer or a partner or, or in-house folks that can build this out for you. There is a CRM extensions API, which allows you to build these little cards into the right hand side of records, as well as now you can do it in the middle center pane.

You can create these like custom pages that will show data from another system when you're looking at a record in HubSpot. So for example, I could, you know, look at a contact record. Maybe I'm a SAS company and I can see, Hey, here's some account information from like their account from our other system, but it doesn't live in HubSpot. I could just see it in HubSpot using that CR extension in cards, API, if you need to be able to report on automate or segment by that data, that's when you wanna bring it in as a custom object. But there are plenty of situations where me as a rep, I just need to be able to see or check something to inform the work I'm doing, but I don't necessarily need it stored in the system. So that's like another level where you can pull, if there's data from another system you wanna see in a HubSpot and you're not sure if it needs to be a custom object

George B. Thomas (36:21):

Or not. That's a ninja tip right there, which by the way, it's also max heading in the next direction that we're actually talking about today. And with about 10 minutes left, let's try to divide this into about five to seven minutes on this and you know, whatever, two to four minutes on the actual action items that we want people to take after this episode. But when you think of HubSpot record customization, yeah. This could be an episode all on its own. I really do feel. But when you think about record customization contacts, companies deals, custom objects, whatever. Where does your brain go?

We are in the golden age of HubSpot record customizations

Max Cohen (36:57):

Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the golden age <laugh> of HubSpot record customizations. When I say HubSpot record customization. What I mean is when you're looking at a record contact deal ticket company, some sort of custom object, you make, whatever it is, there's three panels that you see. There's the about section on the left. There's the timeline in the middle that shows you all the real time analytics and the journey and like whatever that person has done and all the interactions they've had. And on the right hand side, you see all these cards and that's typically gonna show you things like other objects that this object is associated to. You'll also see a bunch of integration cards get put in if you're using any sort of integrations and they add extra functionality to those records over there. But now we're getting to a place where there's so much that we can do in terms of customizing that experience.

Not only for the entire portal or the individual, but specific teams as well. So there's a lot of work being done on that left hand side. For example, like you can create different sections of properties. Let's say we're talking about a contact. You can create different sections of contact properties on the left. So you can group information together. You could even make them conditional. If you have an enterprise version of HubSpot, where only if records meet a certain set of criteria, will it show another section of data? I hear a lot of people, they were used to ask me like, Hey, can you do record types? Like Salesforce can, where if it's a contact record of a certain type, the layout's a little bit different. Yes we can. We can show different informations. Maybe you wanna see some properties for like a partner and other properties for a customer and other properties for someone who's still a prospect, you can set it up.

So that left hand sidebar dynamically changes on top of that, depending on your role at the company, you may wanna see different data. Salespeople may wanna see one thing service. People might wanna see another. You can totally customize the way a team or an individual experiences, a record based on the team that they're on inside that HubSpot user group. On top of that, in that middle pain, we're now allowing you to use that CRM extensions, API. They just added this really cool overview tab, which is like a customizable page. That'll show you relationships and all these different tables and you can even put highlighted custom properties in there. You could do so much. And on that right hand side bar, you could hide things, reorder them again, build in custom cards, customize it by team the whole thing. Now the whole record is completely customizable to really make sure that whoever you are, you're looking down and you're seeing the right information at the right time within the context of your role. It's it's crazy.

Devyn Bellamy (39:27):

I have one little piece that cuz that's why I wanted to let max, cause I knew he was about to go in on it. My only little piece to add is that it is an excellent tool to drive user adoption. If you have sales people who are dragging and getting information in and they don't want to do the work and finding the fields, you can put the fields in and say, if it's on the left hand side, fill it out. I want every property filled out on the left hand side before you close out the record period, that is an excellent way to drive user

Max Cohen (39:59):

Adoption. Yeah. And it goes back to the theme that you were talking about at the beginning, George, where it's like, what have you customized in your life to make things work for you? You can now customize those records to make it work for the people who are using them in every way you could imagine, you know, especially with extensions like that kind of just blows the limits out of the water.

George B. Thomas (40:15):

You know, I wish max was just a little bit more passionate about actually customizing hub spot. Oh, on mean it, his section was a little bit dry. I wish there was some more information. <Laugh> I'm just kidding, bro. That was so good. The, the only thing I'll throw in there too, because again, I very much like that. I was like, yeah, max is just gonna crush this section. I already know that he's gonna fall in love with this. When, when we are putting the show notes together is I want you to start think about that. Especially what I'm talking about right now, the left hand sidebar is think about, should we show different data based on life cycle stage, should we show different data based on team, all of those things, you know, BD or AE, what should we show customer versus lead? What should we show that's where you're gonna start to get into the granulars and the good stuff like max was talking about. So here's the thing. Oh wait max, isn't done yo one

Max Cohen (41:07):

Boy.

George B. Thomas (41:07):

Forgot. He's he's he's raising his hand again. He forgot one more thing. Let's get into it. One

Max Cohen (41:12):

More. I forgot for the enterprise folks out there and this kind of goes back to properties a little bit, but I thought it was too in depth to bring it up at the beginning. The other thing that is really, really cool, that you can do with properties is you can do fields level permissioning now, both for viewing and editing. So for example, if there are certain properties, you want people to be able to see, but not edit. You can make it so only certain people can edit it and everybody else can see it on top of that. You can completely hide the value of certain properties too, as well and make it. So it's only seen by certain teams now, does that mean you put sensitive PII data into HubSpot? No, but there's plenty of information that you would put into HubSpot that maybe you want certain people seeing and certain people not seeing like commission numbers or like things like that. So yeah, just last little thing I wanna make sure you're aware of that field level permissioning. It's a thing we can do it back to you, George.

Go take a long and hard look at your HubSpot contact properties right now

George B. Thomas (42:00):

So good. So here's the thing with the last three minutes that we have Devin, I'm gonna start with you, max will kick it over to you and I'll go ahead and end this bad boy with what are the, you know, next steps? What are the things after people have listened to this episode that you would say, and it, by the way, it's probably one per each of us. Although we all know, we like to cheat and throw on extra bonus points and value to the community, but where should they be going next after listening and learning about what they've learned about today, for

Devyn Bellamy (42:28):

Me, you should be going right into your properties and giving them a hard look, seeing what you're using, what you're not using, what you could have and feel free to use workflows as data mapping, to consolidate information that is spread across multiple properties and doesn't need to be, or if you need deprecate properties and put them into something new that actually fits your business more use workflow mapping to do that too.

Max Cohen (42:49):

If you haven't gotten a trial for operations hub pro yet, go do that and go get yourself a little, little test drive at that data quality command center and go see if your properties could use a little bit of a tuneup.

George B. Thomas (43:00):

I love this because Devin, when you said what you said, I thought about the auditing process, looking at what you have and then max, you testing something new that you might need. And it really goes along with my advice and that is I would sit back, I would look at your HubSpot hub and I would say to myself, how can I rethink everything? How can I rethink everything? So it helps streamline the process for my team. How can I rethink everything that I get better reporting at the end of the day? And then add in the other items that your brain goes to with, what do I need to rethink? How can I rethink everything and then just ask yourself, is it possible by the way, if you've paid attention to this episode with 90% of the things, the answer's yes. So then, like I said, in the intro, you've educated now move forward and execute.

 

🔥 YOUR HUBHEROES HOSTS

YOUR LEAGUE OF HEROES LEADERS

 

DEVYN BELLAMY

Char_Devyn_AlphaDevyn Bellamy works at HubSpot. He works in the partner enablement department.

He helps HubSpot partners and HubSpot solutions partners grow better with HubSpot.

Before that Devyn was in the partner program himself, and he's done Hubspot onboardings, Inbound strategy, and built out who knows how many HubSpot, CMS websites.

A fun fact about Devyn Bellamy is that he used to teach Kung Fu.

 

MAX COHEN

Char_Max_AlphaMax Cohen is currently a Senior Solutions Engineer at HubSpot. Max has been working at HubSpot for around six and a half-ish years.

While working at HubSpot Max has done customer onboarding, learning, and development as a product trainer, and now he's on the HubSpot sales team.

Max loves having awesome conversations with customers and reps about HubSpot and all its possibilities to enable company growth.

Max also creates a lot of content around inbound, marketing, sales, HubSpot, and other nerdy topics on TikTok.

A fun fact about Max Cohen is that outside of HubSpot and inbound and beyond being a dad of two wonderful daughters he has played and coached competitive paintball since he was 15 years old. 

 

GEORGE B. THOMAS

Char_George_AlphaGeorge B. Thomas is the HubSpot Helper and owner at George B. Thomas, LLC and has been doing inbound and HubSpot since 2012.

He's been training, doing onboarding, and implementing HubSpot, for over 10 years. George's office, mic, and on any given day, his clothing is orange. George is also a certified HubSpot trainer, Onboarding specialist, and student of business strategies.

To say that George loves HubSpot and the people that use HubSpot is probably a massive understatement.

A fun fact about George B. Thomas is that he loves peanut butter and pickle sandwiches.

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