What are custom objects in HubSpot? Featuring Remington Begg

[00:00:00] Thorstein Nordby: [00:00:00] Welcome to The Customer acquisition Podcast. My name is Thorstein. If you are in marketing or sales and you want to increase demand, build more pipeline and acquire more customers for your B2B product. This podcast. Is for you in this podcast, we will mix together webinars, live streams, interviews, and everything else in audio format.

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[00:00:53] Hello, welcome today. I am joined by a Remington Begg co-founder of impulse creative. [00:01:00] Welcome. Absolutely happy to be here. Could you tell me a little bit about what you do at impulse creative? 

[00:01:07] Remington Begg: [00:01:07] Sure. So I like to think that I'm the composer over at impulse creative. So I'm the one that comes up with the crazy ideas and then the team. making them a reality.

[00:01:17] I'm the co-founder CEO of impulse creative way diamond HubSpot partner agency. We focus on revenue, operations and really scalable models to help. People grow. We help them marketing sales and service delivery, not delivering the service, but setting up the systems that allow for them to do it efficiently.

[00:01:36] So 

[00:01:37] Thorstein Nordby: [00:01:37] Remington, you are a very knowledgeable person when it comes to HubSpot, then I'm excited to pick your brain about today's topic, which is custom objects. So both our agencies are using HubSpot and offering HubSpot to clients and. Up to this point, HubSpot has been an all in one hub [00:02:00] for your marketing, your sales and your customer success, but an inbound in 2020 HubSpot launched a new feature called custom objects, which makes HubSpot into, in my opinion, a direct competitor to the big CRM platforms such as Microsoft and Salesforce CRM.

[00:02:18] So could you begin with explaining what custom objects really is?

[00:02:23] Remington Begg: [00:02:23] Sure. Absolutely. So one of the things I loved most about that update that HubSpot gave is, they gave it and it's almost like they pushed it under the rug. I think it is one of the single most impressive are the, like the biggest deals of what they've released in several years in regards to the capabilities that are Moxon.

[00:02:43] So a custom object is a customizable object. And the easiest way to explain it is if you have an email marketing tool like MailChimp or something like that, the object in that case is the database of contacts. If you upgrade [00:03:00] that to a CRM, you're going to have multiple objects, you'll have that same contact object, which has a list of all of the contacts, but then you also have companies in a lot of cases and then deals or opportunities, right?

[00:03:13] So opportunities in Salesforce or deals in HubSpot. Those are Huston's default objects as well as tickets for their service. And so what has happened in the past is companies have to fit themselves into HubSpot, meaning they have to fit their processes into the. The barriers that HubSpot had created just by having those as the default objects.

[00:03:36] And so now with the ability of custom objects, now you're able to create whatever objects you need to operate your business. So for us, we have an onboarding object to service object, and we have a deliverable object and we manage a lot of our project management, within HubSpot. As part of that.

[00:03:51] And so now we've been freed if you will, to really make HubSpot work around our company rather than the other way around. 

[00:03:58] Thorstein Nordby: [00:03:58] So why are [00:04:00] custom objects such a big deal? So HubSpot did not make that much of a big deal out of it. I think most HubSpot users might not be aware of the importance of what custom objects can 

[00:04:13] Remington Begg: [00:04:13] bring.

[00:04:14]Great question. So the service side of the business, HubSpot started out as this marketing tool. And so the all-in-one marketing. So I remember we've been a partner since 2012. And so we've seen quite the journey back in, in 2012, when we started, it was this marketing tool that worked really effectively, and then they brought on the whole making it so you could have your entire website on it and.

[00:04:35] When we were just thinking that how SWAT and how it was designed with the different object types that they came default was really obvious. It was, this is where marketing does their work, and then you can connect to Salesforce. And in fact, that was most of the recommendations that we got right.

[00:04:53] Wants to hook up to hubs or to Salesforce and make it so that it could be your CRM. When HubSpot launched [00:05:00] the free CRM years later. They started seeing people trending and trying to do more in the tool because what HubSpot has done really is they have put so much emphasis on the customer experience.

[00:05:12] And when I say customer experience, they don't mean the company buying HubSpot. The employees who have to use it after the company buys it. So the experience of those employees, the accessibility of that information, all of that becomes really important. So when we compare it to Microsoft dynamics or Salesforce, there's going to be a pretty steep learning curve.

[00:05:35] If you bring someone in and they're not familiar with those systems, where in my experience, the learning curve of getting someone to start using HubSpot is over half. So it's gonna be half as much work to get people on board, and it's a lot more intuitive. And now that we add this functionality of custom objects what's happened is we've taken the.

[00:05:56] Ultra complex needs of someone having to use Salesforce or [00:06:00] Microsoft dynamics because they needed some of this extra functionality. And now what we've done is we've made it accessible to assist them. It has such a much more fluid user experience that it's almost a no-brainer for a company once they start seeing how easy things are.

[00:06:18] As an extra bonus, it's even more important when you start thinking about how HubSpot CMS ties into it as well, because custom objects can also extend the online experience for your users too. So 

[00:06:29] Thorstein Nordby: [00:06:29] let's talk about HubSpot CMS forbid, what kind of opportunities are opening up for HubSpot users who are on the CMS and who are also using custom objects?

[00:06:42] Remington Begg: [00:06:42] Yeah. A perfect example of one would be you could create a dashboard for for partners. There's people that are spending several thousand dollars a month on tools like partner stack, which sink into Salesforce and they can manage billing and it can manage leads that come in. And, you can associate that with these [00:07:00] individual partners.

[00:07:01] At impulse creative, we've just launched three different companies with this partner object now just over the past couple of weeks and it's making it so that they get to keep track of all of those leads that are coming in on their website. And we're using HubSpot CMS for the majority of them. But then also gives a portal for those partners to come in and see how many leads and depending on the country that you're in, you might not want to share all the details, but you could share just the number of contacts and whether there's any open deal, MRR.

[00:07:27] Associated and that kind of thing. And so this now just adds another layer of flexibility and then to take that a step further. If you have service directories, or for instance, we have partners on our website on impulse creative, that partner directory is powered by custom objects now.

[00:07:44] So if they're in the system, they're in the CRM and then we can associate it with people who purchased. So it just becomes a really eloquent way to not have to. Copy and paste data from one system to another, and then over to another system for what can be public that can all be managed on spot. [00:08:00] And that's really the power of this is everything being in one central location.

[00:08:04] You also 

[00:08:04] Thorstein Nordby: [00:08:04] wrote something interesting. You said that companies can build what you call a company O S operating system with HubSpot. So could you elaborate a bit on what you mean by building a company S R with 

[00:08:19] Remington Begg: [00:08:19] HubSpot. Yes, absolutely. So we have our, we'll say chapter one of this whole vision over at impulse, creative.com and we call it the customer experience platform.

[00:08:30] And the customer experience platform is something that allows for you to consider the entire customer's journey, right from prospect all the way through to a delighted customer. And there's several steps in between. But when you think about your website, You think about your marketing? You think about how many conversions people have in a traditional I'm using traditional inbound together, but a traditional inbound campaign, right?

[00:08:56] You've got eBooks and downloads and guides and [00:09:00] offers. There's no central place to see what you previously downloaded. If you think like Amazon, for instance, Amazon is putting together more context. And then delivering you a better experience when we think most websites that's, it's value extraction.

[00:09:15] It's to give us your information to get this PDF rather than trying to cater the experience around them. So when we think of this customer operating system, it's imagining the customer life cycle and the buyer's journey as a product. What are the things that you consider and what are the things you would think through too often?

[00:09:33] We find that companies think about their product as the product. And then the experiences are just these extra bolt-ons that can get really complicated. When we think from a revenue operations point of view, which is the central mindset that our agency runs it on revenue. Operations wants to eliminate negative friction.

[00:09:50] And the easiest way to do that is think of it as one big step. And that's where custom objects can come into play. So a deal comes through someone purchases, and then that could roll [00:10:00] right into a guided onboarding and you can create dashboards on the front end, but then also make sure it's super streamlined in the backend.

[00:10:07] So it's very interesting, 

[00:10:08] Thorstein Nordby: [00:10:08] but at a high level, what do you think are the big problems that custom objects are 

[00:10:15] Remington Begg: [00:10:15] solving? Yeah. So I think it's allowing for data to be in a centralized spot. And I don't want to understate this second, most valuable piece of a company's. Status is, the first is their employees in my belief the second is the data that they have and what they do with that data.

[00:10:35]It's not just the contact database. It's the last time someone paid their bill. It's the last time that someone, how long have they been a customer? And I'll give you an example. In HubSpot, there is a field called lifecycle stage and the lifecycle stage is whenever we do HubSpot audits, we look at the life cycle stage and we'll see subscriber leads, marketing, qualified leads, all the way through to customers.

[00:10:59] And it's [00:11:00] crazy the amount of opportunity stages that are in there that are identified strictly for people who once were an opportunity, whether they became a customer or not. And the customer one is even more important because in a lot of cases, service businesses like mine. I have customers and I hope that they stay with me forever, but that's not realistic.

[00:11:20] And so on the timeframes that they are my customer, what happens after that? And there's no end date to that status, but there's also a huge opportunity there. So if we're thinking about the data. All together, we need to be able to add multiple dimensions and the dimensions really come to, rather than it being a one or a zero.

[00:11:38] And I'm a nerdy guy, right? So it's a one or a zero. If it's a customer or not. Now we can think with custom objects, is this person a we serviced this company or this person for this time period, from this date to this date, they were happy with us when they left. And they're no longer an active customer.

[00:11:57] We're going to want, if they come back to our website and [00:12:00] they're not an active customer, but were before, and they were happy, we're going to want to treat them in a completely different way than some random person that came to the website or someone that was unhappy. And right now before custom objects, that was very complicated to do.

[00:12:15] And that was custom objects. If we use the objects the right way. And use them for good right now, all of a sudden there's dimension to our data. And it allows for us to really know how valuable our databases are and then we can and figure out the ways that you can actually make them actionable. 

[00:12:31] Thorstein Nordby: [00:12:31] So let's get a bit more tactical with the different use cases.

[00:12:36] So you have written about many of the different use cases. And you were writing about conversion objects, subscription objects feedback, objects, and so on. So maybe I think subscription is maybe one of the most interesting things. So could you talk us through what the subscription audit can do for a company in HubSpot?

[00:12:59] Remington Begg: [00:12:59] Yeah, [00:13:00] so great question. I'm going to paint a picture that essentially there's a sales person that's closing that deal in the first place. So currently before custom objects, that deal closes, everyone celebrates, it's a million dollar deal over two years, and that's really the last time it's thought about right.

[00:13:18] It's like that person's our customer and we have to deliver and give them access to the product. The problem that we can run into, there is again like the salesperson set and close the deal. They hooked him in what's the other dimension. The other dimension is, did they stay for that entire two years?

[00:13:36] Did that whole million dollars turned into. Actual closed business. Did it turn into more, right? We don't know. That kind of information. So with a subscription object, you can add that object if that's how your company does business. And what you could do is you could show the status of the subscription.

[00:13:52] So if someone comes in and they purchase from you that million dollar project, that million dollar, sorry, that million dollar [00:14:00] subscription over two years, you could break that down. Into whatever the payment plans are. And you could end, you really could understand what your monthly recurring revenue is, what your, adjusted Daniel is.

[00:14:12] And you could have your own reports on that, but then you could also have a lot of activities track towards that subscription rather than that contact or that company. And so as you keep moving, you can compare the projected sales of that subscription. That's in the current deal, that million dollars to the actual and know, how on track are these contracts actually happening and how can that process keep moving?

[00:14:39] The other side is that data now that active subscription, I'm using air quotes on audio. All right. So that active subscription that is that custom object can be associated to multiple contacts, multiple companies could it be associated with that deal? It could also be associated to any tickets or support items that are happening.

[00:14:58] So now you can start to track a [00:15:00] lot more. I have a much better picture on the true cost of that subscription. The people that are involved with it. And then my favorite part is you could create a dashboard in HubSpot for reporting that shows, projected versus actual. It could show your loss rate your attrition, but it could also on the front end, you could create a dashboard that lets people see access to how long they've been a customer or give them an option to upgrade or change the way their marketing is on the CMS.

[00:15:28] So that's a huge opportunity for the subscription and that's, without me even going into cross selling and upselling. Yeah. So we'll just keep on the vein of this subscription object. So we have this subscription object and it's active. And, a lot of times companies will have feedback feedback surveys or something like that.

[00:15:46] You could use a service hub. You could also have a feedback object that's separate, but more on that later, but if someone's happy and they come to your pricing page, you want to be able to recommend what's best for them. If they already have a [00:16:00] service, there's going to be some perspective of what they're looking for on there.

[00:16:03] That's different than normal, right? So for instance, we'll use our agency. As an example, we have our ongoing marketing operations retainers, right? Someone has a marketing ops retainer, and they're looking at some of our sales, assets that are on the website and they're happy. From a feedback point of view and they're active in meaning that they've paid their bill, right?

[00:16:26] We could follow up with them in a much more natural way about, Hey, in the next call, we could just bring up the fact that we could help them with sales, operations type stuff. That's a very passive way of doing it. But the other way of doing it is the calls to action on your sales pages, on your service pages, around those sales, those could change automatically based on an act of marketing subscription.

[00:16:47]And so if you think about the power of that, rather than trying to figure out what lists they're in now your criteria is based on that object, which can be very valuable. If you have one product, obviously the cross sell up, [00:17:00] sell, it's going to be more, just an up sell path. But if you have multiple facets of your business, there's going to be opportunities for those facets to be very complementary to each other.

[00:17:11] You should be able to prioritize those in your marketing and your website pretty naturally. And if you know that someone active currently, 

[00:17:18] Thorstein Nordby: [00:17:18] and you also mentioned feedback objects to how does that work? 

[00:17:23] Remington Begg: [00:17:23] Yeah, absolutely. So currently, if you're using service hub right now, the reporting for feedback is I would say.

[00:17:32] Heavily trending towards the general feedback score that the service team would get, rather than the feedback and happiness of the actual contact, from a report. It's the sum of the whole, like, how are all of our customers doing from an NPS? There's a huge opportunity to know when we add another dimension to this, not just how happy they are right now, but what's there.

[00:17:56] What's the trend, right? What's Remington's trend [00:18:00] over the past six months. Is he happier than he was before? Or is he not as happy as he was before? And you should be able to, especially if you have this, like this subscription, if I'm getting more and more unhappy, that could be a really big signal that someone's going to turn right.

[00:18:19] Where if I get one bad, but it's in a sea of good, that means that I had something wrong there and we should figure it out. It's a different message than if it's a slow, downward trend. And so would the feedback object, it's another object you could create. And essentially what you do is you use HubSpot's feedback tools that they're using in service hub.

[00:18:39] And whenever the feedback is collected, it timestamps it and creates that object or creates, sorry, that instance of that object and associates that to the contact. So you could look back, imagine you pick up the phone. I use this exercise with my team all the time. If you saw that your best client was calling, what would you want to know [00:19:00] when you went to pick up the phone?

[00:19:01] Are you going to feel really good about that client calling you? Are you going to be nervous? What is that emotion? This feedback object should show you very quickly, whether that's going to be a happy call, if it's trending to be not as happy, and you've got to start thinking through how you can fix it.

[00:19:17] Being proactive in this, in these steps is a really powerful way to help customers and increase that life cycle. So I use that telephone example when someone's calling, because it's, you can't justify it. It's what kind of call is this going to be today? That, that feeling over time is so important to marketing.

[00:19:37] Yeah. The tone of your marketing is going to be different. Hell. If the CEO should call someone, it's going to be different because I don't just want to know today how you feel today. I want to know whether you spend starting to feel this way for a long time. And ideally I shouldn't have to ask the customer.

[00:19:52] I should be able to see that. And that's the feedback object. You have 

[00:19:55] Thorstein Nordby: [00:19:55] wrote many insightful articles and made multiple [00:20:00] videos about the different use cases of a custom object. So I'll link to that. If anyone wants to go and learn even more. My next question is what types of companies should consider custom objects and when is a good time for using.

[00:20:20] Custom objects and it's definitely not a beginner's future. And it's only available in the enterprise license of HubSpot. 

[00:20:29] Remington Begg: [00:20:29] Yeah, that's great, yeah. So I usually challenge people not to jump right in and start creating, the HubSpot CRM or marketing tool is more complex than a normal email marketing tool that only manages contacts.

[00:20:43] That's not a bad thing. It's just more complex. And how all of those things meshed together is really important. So when people start thinking about creating a custom object I'm going to give you a tip on how to start thinking about it, but then also for your audience, how to. How to really test, to make sure.

[00:20:59] So [00:21:00] when you think of the contact record and marketers are usually going to be the ones that construct to think about this pretty quickly, and then probably followed by like sales directors is what information do I have to reference in a pivot table in a spreadsheet? What information is management requesting?

[00:21:20]That I don't know the answer to. And what information is hard to get historical data from within HubSpot. There's a lot of different answers depending on the use case. But what it comes down to is understanding the business case, because this is a mindset shift. You don't have to fit your business into HubSpot.

[00:21:41] You now have to fit HubSpot onto your business. And so you can't go thinking, what can I get out of HubSpot? You really have to start thinking about what I would like to see? So we lean into the service-based, service object, because if you have a consultancy or any type of active engagements, [00:22:00] that is pretty obvious.

[00:22:02] Depending on where you're having that data. But the second you create a place to put this data, you have to understand where it's coming from. And that's where the really complex side, for instance, project management, if you're using a sauna for project management, you're not going to be able to replace without a significant investment, a sauna.

[00:22:20] In HubSpot, but you could bring in certain things that matter, for instance, progress towards achieving a goal or progress towards delivering on a service. And while it might be a manual input into the CRM, by someone it's going to be an area where you can start to get so much better data.

[00:22:38] But think about the information that you have in spreadsheets and pivot tables, spreadsheets are going to be your biggest North star. And then from there you got to map it out. And what I mean by mapping it out is I'm a big fan of whiteboards scribble out how things are associated. For instance, that subscription object [00:23:00] is that subscription object for a company.

[00:23:04] And do all contexts in a company have access to that subscription. The answer may be yes. Or it might be no right. If the company has access, but only certain contacts have access via that subscription object. That's going to, you're going to handle the data and how that's associated with contacts in a completely different way than you would if it was for the company.

[00:23:26] And so the associations are. The secret sauce to these custom objects and how they associate with these contacts, these tickets, these deals, and these other objects. You just got to map that through because you can do anything with custom objects, which means it's even more dangerous because you don't get any training wheels on it.

[00:23:46] And so as you start thinking it through, look at spreadsheets and then map it out, what you design it, you and you want it to be. And then from there, test and deploy. 

[00:23:55] Thorstein Nordby: [00:23:55] Okay, this has been very interesting. I think you were able to [00:24:00] simplify the concept behind custom objects and what value customer objects can bring to HubSpot users.

[00:24:08] So if people want to go and learn more about custom objects or about you or your agency, impulse creative work, and they find you. 

[00:24:16] Remington Begg: [00:24:16] Yeah, the easiest place to go to find information on custom objects is if you go to impulse, creative.com forward slash custom objects, all one word. If you want to connect with me on Twitter, I'm at Remington Begg, R E M I N G T O N.

[00:24:29] B as in boy, E G G. Yeah. I'm just about available anywhere on social without a username. Great. Thanks for joining me. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. .


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