Unlocking HubSpot's power: A non-technical guide to integrations

By Tobias Pasma

Unlocking HubSpot's power: A non-technical guide to integrations

Are you eager to dive into the world of HubSpot's integrations but need more depth when it comes to the technical side? Fear not! We're here to bridge the gap between the complexities of integration and your expertise as a digital marketer. By the end of this article, you'll be equipped with the knowledge you need to discuss integrations with your tech team effectively and outline the proper requirements.

Five questions to ask before starting

Before embarking on your integration adventure, let's address some questions about your data. Answering these will help you pick the right way of integrating and clarify the road ahead.

What is the "source of truth" of this data?

The "source of truth" is the primary record for your data. For example, your inventory management system is the source of truth for how many products you have in stock. However, this data will also live in your CMS so that you can display whether a product is in stock or not on your website. The data might flow into other systems, but the source of truth is the core system with the most reliability.

Is this data dynamic or immutable?

Dynamic data changes, while immutable data remains unchanged. For instance, a list of people who came into your showroom on a particular day remains unchanged (unless we invent time travel). If you want to know who is in your showroom right now, that data is dynamic and constantly changes.

How will this data relate to other data?

How will the data that you're going to bring into HubSpot relate to other data? Is it something completely new and separated from any other data? Probably not. So how will it be connected – is it one-to-one, many-to-one, one-to-many? For example, can an office space you rent out be linked to multiple companies or only one? What implications does this have for the contracts you send? Drawing your data architecture into an ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram) will help you understand your data's relations.

Is the data used internally or externally?

Knowing who will use the data helps you determine how to structure and store it. Data destined for internal eyes might require different handling than data intended for external consumption; it might even need to be stored in a system with different capabilities. 

Is the data a subcategory of other data?

Finding the right balance between granularity and flexibility is critical if your data falls under a larger category. Avoid over-engineering by creating separate objects for everything that may lead to unnecessary complexity. For example, you could create separate objects for each car brand, do a separate object for all cars, or (if there is a one-to-one relationship) have the car's data live under another object (contacts, for example). 


Different ways of integrating with HubSpot

Now that you have the foundational idea of what your data is and how it will be used, we can explore the different ways of bringing it into HubSpot.

CRM Extensions

CRM Extensions allow you to embed information from other systems into HubSpot (don't confuse them with the (currently in beta) CRM UI Extensions). With a CRM extension, you can view and edit the data right in HubSpot. However, you cannot use this data to create lists, workflows, or reports. So, while they are flexible, they have some limitations.

Screenshot of Demo Tickets in HubSpot


Timeline events

Timeline events allow you to represent specific moments or happenings on the timeline of an object (deal, ticket, contact, company) in HubSpot. We spoke about visits to a showroom before, and that would be a perfect data type to use a timeline event for. With these Timeline Events, you can create your lists and reports in HubSpot and use them as workflow triggers.

Screenshot of a Timeline event where a registration has occured


(Custom) Properties

Using your properties to bring data into HubSpot might be the most common way of integrating. You configure what data field in 'system x' should correspond with which data field in HubSpot - and you see the rules for when and how it should sync. The data now lives in HubSpot in a property on your desired object (contacts, deals, tickets, company). These properties enable you to view and edit data on the record sidebar, update it via workflows, and even use it in HubSpot reports. There are some constraints to remember, such as a maximum of five historical values per property.

Screenshot of a custom property



Think of HubDB as a digital spreadsheet housing relational data. You can directly pull data from your tables to power your website (or, with some work, you can get it into automated emails). So if you want your data to be externally visible, HubDB should be the first place to look. It's like having your data-driven toolkit at your disposal.

Screenshot of HubDB with user ID, Name (emails) Date of feedback and the feedback text.


In conclusion

With these insights, you're primed to navigate the world of integrations with HubSpot. By asking the right questions and exploring various integration pathways, you're well on your way to seamlessly connecting your data and harnessing the full power of HubSpot. If you have an integration question or would like to brainstorm about integration in your specific situation, let me know. I'm happy to jump on a call with you and have a virtual coffee (or milkshake, you pick). 

Tobias Pasma
An experienced HubSpot specialist with many HubSpot certifications under his belt. Born in the Netherlands and moved to Sweden in 2019.
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