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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. 


  • 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! 


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


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?


Intro: Do you live in a world filled with corporate data? Are you plagued by silo departments? Are your lackluster growth strategies demolishing your chances for success? Are you held captive by the evil menace, Lord Lack, lack of time, lack of strategy, and lack of the most important and powerful tool in your superhero tool belt, knowledge. Never fear hub heroes.

Get ready to don your cape and mask, move into action, and become the hub hero your organization needs. Tune in each week to join the league of extraordinary inbound heroes as we help you educate, empower, and execute. Hub heroes, it's time to unite and activate your your powers. Before we begin, we need to disclose that both Devin and Max are currently employed by HubSpot at the time of this episode's recording. This podcast is in no way affiliated with or produced by HubSpot, and the thoughts and opinions expressed by Devin and Max during the show are that of their own and in no way represent those of their employer.

George B. Thomas: 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're like, the intro is 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 because 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 on boarding 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 SaaS 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, because your business is different than any other, then you're gonna have more success. Now before we dive too deep into this, I kinda 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?

Devyn Bellamy: 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 then 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's just about making my house fit me that when I talk, it does exactly what I want.

George B. Thomas: 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. 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?

Max Cohen: Well, I customized the settings on my CPAP 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 3 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 setup and kinda getting it into a place that

George B. Thomas: serves

Max Cohen: a lot of different purposes for the the hobbies and the work that I do and stuff that I'm into. You know, I've got everything from my little sound board that's, like, super easy for me to use. I got my Elgato 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 kinda customize it and tweak it to to run a lot of cool commands in your computer.

Everything from, like, my headset to the camera that I'm using, how I've changed my display set up 47 100 times since I've had this desk. I'm always kinda, 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 3 years to kinda get to a place where it's, like, alright.

This works for me.

George B. Thomas: And again again, I think we're brothers from another mother because I literally asked myself, do I need 2 more monitors? And I I heard myself the other day. This is about a week ago. I tell my wife, I don't think there's anything else that I wanna buy, and then I gasped. Oh my god.

Did those words just come out of 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 Devon and Max customizing now more specifically HubSpot as a historical trainer, because 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 kinda set off this HubSpot customization conversation?

Max Cohen: 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, 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 kinda analogy you use.

How do you wrap HubSpot around your business? I always just called it wrapping the HubSpot blanket of love around your business. Right? So I kinda it's funny how we kinda 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 kinda 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 it as much as you need to, but also just try to do your best to kinda simplify it as much as you can so you don't go overboard. Because then that can just make it inconvenient for you.

Devyn Bellamy: For me, when it comes to customization, I always just go back to storytelling as it pertains to reporting. And what are you looking at accomplishing? What information are you trying to gather? What kind of story are 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 them 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 4 different properties that explain the subtle nuances of 1 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 drop down 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. You're trying to accomplish, what you're trying to communicate to everyone who's using the system as well as the decision makers.

George B. Thomas: It's interesting, Devin, because to hear you say that, my brain goes in a couple different directions. 1, 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 customized 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 So. 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's not best practices, things you've seen, horror stories.

What comes to mind?

Max Cohen: Why don't we start real quick? For anyone who's new to HubSpot or new to CRM in general, let's clearly define what we mean by properties. HubSpot's 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 use to segment those contact.

You could also be using it for reporting purposes because if it's a data point in HubSpot, which most of the time we're talking about properties and we're thinking about data points that you're reporting on, it can help you there. Or if you were to 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 then maybe it's a, you know, whatever type of yeah. Devin's point because 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 wanna 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, because 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: I gotta jump in here, Devin. I'm gonna go to you for a second. But, Max, as you were talking, I was like, you know what a dope HubSpot wish list 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 wanna ask. And so if you could literally have it in the same place and have the options, that would be super dope. But nevertheless, this is not the HubSpot wish list 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?

Devyn Bellamy: 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. Alright. Moving on. The way that you should that I always tell people to start looking at properties is 1, 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 into 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've been in so many CRMs where there's, like, 12 different notes or 12 different other fields, and we don't know what they're attached to or what they mean. No context there at all. Don't stop it.

Max Cohen: The other kind of, like, real big general thing that I would say is when you can use drop down or multi checkbox 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.

George B. Thomas: Oh, I love the addition of that. And, Devin, man, purpose built forms? 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 1 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 4 major things that you should be thinking about pertaining to creating properties. Number 1, 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 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 drop down or multi selects that they can select. So reporting and communication. Number 3.

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 them on this list so we can delete them 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 them moving forward. Now speaking of that, I'm going to dive in real quick to and, 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, 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, nonfiction, 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 them 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?

Max Cohen: Groups for me really kinda 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 Hub Spot 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 what you're creating.

So when it comes to properties, one layer that you can do that is with groups, where you can say, alright, this property that I'm building, yeah, it's gonna be on contact records. But is this contact information? Is this analytics information? Is it some other category I've created? So you can kinda 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 is for and how it's used. The other kind of thing that goes along with that, and this kinda 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 on and takes over the administration of that portal and they wanna 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: So my take on groups is use them, use them, and then use them. There as you expand your your CRM and add properties, I can tell you that there will come a point when you need to go and look at your properties, and you're going to want to sort through your properties, and it's going to be nightmare fuel trying to find properties because you're going to have 100 of them. In some cases, 1000. And that's scary thought. But if you're 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, 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 back end 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 it 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 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 do that.

George B. Thomas: I love that you mentioned 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 3rd bathroom because now you've had, like, 2 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 kinda 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 2 or these three things that companies are now applying custom objects for.

Max Cohen: HubSpot comes sort of preloaded with 4 big main objects. Right? You got contacts with your people, companies with your businesses, deals, your sales, tickets which are you helping someone with something or delivering a service or whatever. When it comes to 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 push back from people saying, oh, well, you know, some people are our 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're gonna have 2 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 lose, like, deduplication of the 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 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 100 or 1000 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 because there's really just one McDonald's company. But if I wanna 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 kinda fit into those already existing records, then go with the 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 kinda 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 for them.

Devyn Bellamy: Listen, man. Custom objects is a whole another thing. One thing to keep in mind is think hard about whether or not you need them. 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 use 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 emails so we could create one email instead of one for each franchise.

It was just one email that would auto populate 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 wanna think really hard about whether or not you need custom objects and try and maximize existing objects to the fullest 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 location's custom object. But there are ways when you can really basically bury yourself in bad data. And so what you wanna do is consult an expert.

Get with a professional architect or an agency who has done HubSpot architecture before because we talk about 2 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 wanna pair with an expert on.

George B. Thomas: I love all that you guys have said. There's a couple things that I wanna throw in on this one because, a, I'm I'm kinda 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 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 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: 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 2 different systems, for instance, let's say you're an energy drink and you have a lot of different gamers that basically you sponsor or have affiliate links.

At that point, it doesn't make sense to have them as a different custom object because 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: 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 because 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 the podcast, but Max has officially raised his hand to be like, I wanna be eating eggs. 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 remissed 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, 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 HubSpotty words. Max, what are your thoughts?

Max Cohen: Only thing I wanna 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 of 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 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 SaaS 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 CRM extension and 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 you can pull if there's data from another system you wanna see in HubSpot, and you're not sure if it needs to be a custom object or not.

George B. Thomas: 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 5 to 7 minutes on this and, you know, whatever, 2 to 4 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?

Max Cohen: Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the golden age of 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 3 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'll 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 can 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.

Sales people 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 pane, 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 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: I have one little piece that because that's why I wanted to let Max because 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 salespeople who are dragging and getting information in and they don't wanna do the work in 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 adoption.

Max Cohen: 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 kinda just blows the limits out of the water.

George B. Thomas: You know, I wish Max was just a little bit more passionate about actually customizing HubSpot. Come on. It it his section was a little bit dry. I wish there was some more information. I'm just kidding.

Bro, that was so good. The the only thing I'll throw in there too because, again, I'm very much like that, but 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're 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.

Max Cohen: Yo. One more

George B. Thomas: I forgot. He's he's raising his hand again. He forgot one more thing. Let's get into it.

Max Cohen: One more I forgot for enterprise folks out there. This kinda 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 field level permission 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.

George B. Thomas: So good. So here's the thing. With the last 3 minutes that we have, Devin, I'm gonna start with you. Max, we'll 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 1 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?

Devyn Bellamy: For me, you should be going right into your properties 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: If you haven't gotten a trial for operations use a little bit of a tune up.

George B. Thomas: 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 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 is yes. So then, like I said in the intro, you've educated.

Now move forward and execute. Okay, hub heroes. We've reached the end of another episode. Will lord lack continue to loom over the community, or will we be able to defeat him in the next episode of the hub heroes podcast? Make sure you tune in and find out in the next episode.

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