When users create records in HubSpot, requiring associations is a solid solution for organizations that are dealing with free-floating records (deals, contacts, or companies) or for newer Hubs that are looking to prevent any loose data as they implement HubSpot. This is increasingly important as it allows teams to accurately report ROI on marketing efforts, analyze the makeup of their deals, and much more.
How to Use Required Associations in HubSpot
Knowing this feature exists is only half the battle. The use and intention behind its application are where things can get a bit cloudy. To help clear things up, the Concept team has broken down examples for common use cases. Because these new required associations can be used on multiple record types – including on custom objects – here they are by category:
Using Required Associations with Deals
Without adding this required association, when a member of a sales team creates a new deal, they could leave it unassociated with a contact or company – even if these other records exist in the CRM. This practice can cause issues in reporting, automation, list segmentation, and more; a theme that will carry over to the other record types. When referencing deals, depending on your organization, requiring the contact association will be most important. You may be able to get away with leaving the company as optional, but that is on a case-by-case basis.
Imagine you have generated several leads from a marketing campaign, and these contacts come with a deal. Without the required association, there could be numerous deals without a contact, meaning the marketing activity attributed to that contact would not be tied to the deal - missing out on the opportunity to accurately report on the ROI of your campaign. A required association cleans this up and provides confidence in attributing marketing campaigns to pipeline generation in the future. I break this feature down in my LinkedIn post below.
Using Required Associations with Contacts
Without this feature in place, when a user created a new contact, they could leave it unassociated from a company – even if that existed in the Hub. One way to pair these records together is with HubSpot’s auto-creation and association tool, which uses the domains to match. This is a great tool, but it does not have built-in logic for subdomains and will not route if the contact has a free email address. To help clean this up and double down on high-quality data integrity, you can use the required associations tool.
If you were attempting to send an email alert to all contacts with a company in the state of Ohio, because some contacts may be located outside of the state their company is in, you would want to create a segmented list that filters for the company state as Ohio. However, without the proper association, you could accidentally miss a portion of your intended recipients. By requiring the company association, you help mitigate this issue.
Using Required Associations with Companies
Likely a less-urgent use case, depending on your data structure and processes, you can now require associations when a company is created. This will be more useful for specific or unique sales and marketing operations. Below is an example where an admin may benefit from making deals a required association when creating a new company.
If your team has a process that asks sales reps to only enter companies that they are currently discussing a deal with, you could make “deal” a required association when they are creating a company record. This would keep your CRM in alignment with this organizational process with far less admin supervision or cleanup.
Important Reminder: These required associations only impact records being created manually, using HubSpot’s UI. This requirement is not enforced during imports, although it is possible to create associations during the import process.
Final Considerations for this New Feature
Although the examples listed above are common, your organization's structure, processes, and CRM instance will influence their usefulness and the reasoning behind their implementation. It may not always be as simple as flipping a switch, because you will need to consider what/whom it can impact.
If you have any questions regarding this feature or your HubSpot instance in general, don't be shy and contact us!