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Nick Bennett

By Nick Bennett

Oct 9, 2020


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The 4 biggest HubSpot product releases from INBOUND 2020

Nick Bennett

By Nick Bennett

Oct 9, 2020

The 4 biggest HubSpot product releases from INBOUND 2020

INBOUND has come and gone in a flash this year (just like it does every year), however, for the first time ever, it was completely virtual!

Built on a completely custom event platform, the INBOUND team delivered a new kind of immersive online experience packed with 250+ sessions including, Spotlights, Breakouts, Deep Dives, and even a virtual INBOUND Rocks. 

It was definitely a different experience, but one thing that stayed the same was the announcement of several HubSpot product releases, which also happens to be my favorite part.

This year was packed with updates and lessons from a gamut of HubSpot Academy legends like Kyle Jepsen, Anni Kim, Jorie Munroe, Adriti Gulati, and Chris Ladolce.

With all software, it’s easy to let product updates pass you by, but as a marketer and a HubSpot user, these can’t be ignored. 

Missing out on these updates means missing out on getting the most out of your investment in the HubSpot platform, potentially saving money, gaining a clearer understanding of the ROI of your marketing, and taking leaps towards sales and marketing alignment.

Tall order for just a few software updates… right?

If you attended, I know how it’s tough to keep track of all the info and ideas you pick up along the way. If you didn’t attend, I know how real FOMO can get. No matter your situation, here are our four favorite HubSpot product releases from INBOUND 2020...

1. Custom objects

Being the most exciting news of INBOUND (in my opinion), there was no way I could start this list with anything other than custom objects!

The HubSpot CRM has historically been the tool of choice for those looking for a turn-key, highly user-friendly tool. 

Because its tools are so easy to use, it has been attracting larger companies looking to offload their legacy CRM that was required if you needed more customization, specifically around how the data is structured inside the CRM.

HubSpot has heard your rally cries and has finally released custom objects. 

To understand custom objects we need to first understand what HubSpot considers an “object.” 

Inside HubSpot, you used to only have access to standard objects, or standard data types, such as contacts, companies, deals, and tickets, to name a few. Historically this wasn’t such an issue because smaller companies didn’t have a ton of data and it, 99% of the time, fit into those buckets. 

These objects could be associated with each other within the platform, giving sales and marketing folks a more holistic view of an individual contact, company, or deal all in one place. 

Let’s use myself as an example:

I am Nick Bennett (contact object) and I work at (company object) IMPACT. These objects are tied together with what HubSpot calls associations within my contact record.


contact and company association


As businesses scale and become more sophisticated, however, so does the complexity of its data and those buckets may no longer suffice. 

They don’t automatically accommodate things like subscriptions, event information, shipment information, physical assets or properties, contracts or licenses, or app usage data.

Using the same example of me from above, HubSpot didn’t have a great way to associate me as a contact, with an action like purchasing a ticket to INBOUND (event object).

Now, thanks to custom objects, you can more freely document and associate this kind of data (and so much more) into HubSpot in the way most valuable to you want it to.

But why would you want to?

HubSpot sums this up nicely saying, “While some of these use cases can be solved by storing data on the standard objects as a custom property, it may not be the most appropriate solution. Custom objects give you the flexibility to architect your data on HubSpot exactly as it appears in the real world.”

The best part is that custom objects are fully baked into every nook and cranny of your HubSpot portal! All automated workflows, personalization tokens, and reporting dashboards connect into custom objects just as it does the HubSpot provided ones.

If you’re interested in hearing more about custom objects and how they work check out this episode of the Hubcast where Carina, Stephanie, Marcus, and I geek out on this new feature.

HubSpot is marketing custom objects as a Sales Hub Enterprise feature because these types of features are generally asked for with sales hub / CRM users but it is available with any Enterprise Hub.

Custom objects are available now and, currently, the only way to define a custom object is via API. 

2. Marketing contacts

Along with custom objects, marketing contacts has long been a requested feature from HubSpot users.

Historically, if you were a HubSpot Marketing Hub user, you were required to pay for all of the contacts in the CRM, regardless if you communicated with them or not.

However, if you used every other Hub (sales, service, CMS) besides marketing, you had free storage up to one million contacts. 

This didn’t quite add up because let’s be real, you can’t market to all your contacts all the time. 

There are a lot of reasons why you wouldn’t market to a contact in your CRM — HubSpot notes email bounces, unsubscribes, partners, sales contacts, one-off customer success tickets to name a few.

With the introduction of marketing contacts, you only have to pay for the contacts that you choose to market to. You get to choose which contacts you want to have access to for email marketing, paid ads, etc. but then store the others, up to one million, in a separate location for free. 

Here is the pricing courtesy of HubSpot:

marketing hub with marketing contactsmarketing hub without marketing contacts

While this base pricing chart shows that the contacts are the same price as they otherwise would be, you’re buying more at one time because you will likely need considerably fewer contacts.

HubSpot notes that if you exceed the number of marketing contacts included in your tier, you’ll be automatically upgraded to the next contact tier during your current billing period.

HubSpot is also implementing a scaled contacts pricing model (pricing not included in the screenshot) to make individual contacts cheaper as you increase usage.

Check out the HubSpot product catalog to learn more about how marketing contacts get more affordable as you scale.

Already on Marketing Hub and want to switch to a new subscription that includes marketing contacts? You will be able to pick which contacts you’d like designate as “marketing” before you make the switch.

Existing customers on marketing hub and looking to make the switch or add marketing hub to their subscription are eligible to do so right now by filling out this form.

DISCLAIMER: “Please note that filling out the form signifies your interest in marketing contacts only and will not grant you immediate access. If you are not currently a Marketing Hub customer and fill out the form, then someone will reach out to you after October 21 to follow up on your interest.”

For all new Marketing Hub customers, starting October 21, all new contacts will be designated “non-marketing” and you can flip them over to “marketing” when you’re ready.

According to HubSpot, when it comes to pricing, “you can change non-marketing contacts to marketing contacts at any time, and a change of a contact from “marketing” to “non-marketing” will take effect in the following month. (Note that tier downgrades will not take effect until your next contract period.)”

3. Account-based marketing [ABM] tools

Understanding the increasingly complex B2B buying process, HubSpot has just moved its ABM tools out of beta and into public release.

They include:

  • Contact properties for ABM
  • Company properties for ABM
  • Target accounts home
  • Reporting based on ABM properties
  • Lists based on ABM properties
  • Default workflow templates for updating ideal customer fit tiers.
  • Account-based selling playbooks
  • New Slack commands

To activate them in your portal, have a Super admin with account access permissions navigate to Contacts > Target Accounts > click “Get started.” You'll be directed to set up your target accounts. 

As a B2B company that relies on sales, marketing, services, and support teams to collaborate on every customer interaction. These tools make it easy for all team members to be in the know giving them a central place to track all their target accounts.

4. Brand new custom report builder

Currently in beta, and available to all HubSpot Professional and Enterprise level users, you can now pull even more HubSpot data (yes, even your custom object data!) into custom reports!

The big news here surrounds cross-object reportings. In the past, you were only allowed to create reports across two objects in HubSpot, for example, deals and contacts.

This beta custom report builder allows you to report on multiple data sources in HubSpot, for example, deals, contacts, and tickets.

And, more importantly, with the addition of custom objects, it would look something like contacts, companies, and events.

Now HubSpot’s reporting tools can accommodate the new datasets and can tie together the revenue from an individual and company purchasing tickets to an event back to any action they’ve taken on your website.

Helping you, my marketing friends, continue to report on the ROI of all the time and effort you spend on marketing.

To show how this could work and why it’s so exciting, I’ll use the example from the top of this article: I am Nick Bennett (contact object) and I work at (company object) IMPACT, I purchased a ticket to INBOUND (event object.) 

Another big win is the expansion of the reporting product limits giving users access to a higher volume of reports and more flexible dashboards.

This is really just a nice perk. I know I hate it when I hit a product limit so having more to work with means I can get even more out of the platform. The added dashboard flexibility, meanwhile, help make it easier to customize visuals in a way you and your team can best understand. 

What’s next?

One of the things I enjoy about working inside of the HubSpot platform is how it is never finished.

Product updates, large and small, are always rolling out and something new is always right around the corner.

HubSpot has some big plans for the future of the product, and while I hope all of these items stay on the list of things to get done, HubSpot is clear that “The development process is filled with unexpected hurdles, so the Roadmaps are subject to change. Additionally, they don't include the entirety of our development plans.”

Some of the items noted in these plans include an enhanced mobile experience, more CRM customization, automation reporting, campaign updates, event marketing object, conversations updates, digital asset management, CMS apps, enterprise site management, content decoupling, and automated blog importing.

While it’s exciting to focus on what is to come to the platform, we have plenty of work to do to make good use of all the new tools recently unveiled.

So for now...

If you’re on any paid version of Marketing Hub, I’d recommend reviewing your contacts to see if making the switch to marketing contacts is a viable option for you.

If you’re on Marketing or Sales Hub Pro or Enterprise, I’d recommend you activate your ABM tools and get started identifying target accounts. You can also activate the new custom report builder beta and get started there, too!

And if you’re on any Enterprise Hub or interested in upgrading to enterprise to gain access to custom objects, check out this five-step framework to ensure you’re designing your database in a way that makes the most sense for your business.

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