Data is the engine of a business. The vast majority of businesses invest significant energy in ensuring their data can be used to its fullest potential to provide value. No two businesses are alike though, especially as your business grows and complexity increases to meet the needs of customers. For those businesses who have grown to that level of complexity, many of them with HubSpot as their primary source of data, they need a customizable solution.

Today, as part of our newest suite of Enterprise features, we’re taking a huge step to ensure the HubSpot product meets the needs of your business: custom objects.  

With custom objects, we want to give those businesses the opportunity to build a data schema that works exactly as they need it to. 

Our philosophy with custom objects 

Our product development philosophy at HubSpot centers around ease of use. With every release, we ask ourselves⁠ — “how can we deliver a powerful product while maintaining our gold standard ease of use?” Custom objects were no different. We had to find the sweet spot between a fully customizable database and maintaining ease of use… a magic trick of sorts.

A second component of our product development philosophy at HubSpot is to ship early and often. We build features with minimum functionality our customers need and work forward from there. This lean approach to product is what allows our team to ship dozens of impactful updates each day. However, with custom objects we were forced out of our comfort zone, taking a different path. A customizable database can’t provide much value if it’s not powered by the entire HubSpot platform, so we built custom object functionality into the product far and wide ⁠— delivering on a broad set of use cases from Day 1.

Illustration of examples of different custom objects

How it works

Exactly how you’d expect.

The funny thing about a custom object is that it may seem “custom” to us at HubSpot, it’s certainly not considered “custom” to your business. These data points are a core piece of your business just like anything else. You’ll find custom objects are built with that in mind. Custom objects, no matter where you’re using them in HubSpot, are designed to look, feel, and act exactly like any other object you’re used to.

The CRM record for a custom object is practically indistinguishable from your existing CRM records. When using a custom object in workflows, the automation capabilities are nearly identical to those you’ve been using already. Building reports for custom objects works exactly the same way as it has for all other objects. With custom objects, we hope you’ll come to notice that everything just works, exactly as you’d expect it to. 

There are guardrails where you need them.

Architecting a database is no small task. It’s also an ever-evolving one. As your business grows, you need your CRM to meet your growing needs. Every decision is an important one with long-term implications, and we know that sometimes mistakes are made that become a headache to backpedal on. 

We have a responsibility to do everything we can to mistake-proof, or Poka-yoke, the HubSpot product. Custom objects are a key piece of a CRM implementation so we really doubled down here with mistake-proofing functionality. You’ll notice custom objects can only be defined via API. This guardrail ensures the individual making long-term decisions about the architecture of your database is informed and skilled enough to make a decision of that magnitude. We’re also limiting the number of custom object types a customer can have to 10. More objects are available for purchase, but we wanted to set a reasonable limit for the core product that could protect you from building a database that’s nearly impossible to understand.

When doing research for the development of custom objects, we talked to people who have implemented custom objects in other CRMs. They all gave us the same resounding feedback: They overcomplicated their setup and it hurt their business in the long run. With API-only definition and limited object types, we’ve installed guardrails to keep you from experiencing that same pain in the HubSpot CRM.

What’s next 

There’s so much to cover with this release, it’s certainly one of our largest to date. We’re not done yet: the months ahead will have us continuing to double down on making custom objects widely available and extremely easy to use across the product. 

We’ve only scratched the surface of the potential the HubSpot CRM has to bring to your business. We’re going to continue our relentless focus on bringing power to our CRM without burdening you or your team with difficult to use software. We hope you discover that our first release of custom objects has fulfilled that promise and allows your business to create a powerful CRM that helps you grow better. 

Sound like the power and flexibility your team has been looking for? Learn more about the HubSpot CRM here.


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