Holland Mechanics is a Dutch company that is specialized in wheel building solutions. They offer a complete product range for every demand, from entry level to high end solutions. Hereby, they have a wide range of machines. Their machine data was stored in a CRM system.
Before the start of this new project, Holland Mechanics was already familiar with HubSpot and were very delighted with the value HubSpot brings to their business. Back in 2020, they decided to migrate away from their on premise CRM system. Suddenly they did not have the option to store their machine data. At this point, they discovered that it was very important to store their machine data and how it could bring more value to their commercial processes. That’s why we suggested using HubSpot to store their machine data.
To store machine data in HubSpot, we used custom objects. Custom object is a new feature from HubSpot since September 2020. A custom object provides the flexibility to store any kind of data that’s needed for your business. It also has all the power and ease-of-use that a company needs, just like all the other HubSpot tools.
Furthermore, we also used programmable automation, because Holland Mechanics had a specific case where we merged two properties into one property. At that time, programmable automation was still in private beta, but we were one of the few companies that had the opportunity to test this upfront. This functionality is now included in the Operations Hub. This is a new Hub released by HubSpot on 21 April 2021. Other cool features include data sync and data quality automation. More info can be found here
Adding a custom object to Holland Mechanics’ current HubSpot portal has brought them many benefits. Everyone from their commercial departments will have better insights on the full history of each machine, also after installation on customer premises. Especially their sales and service team gain a lot by having these machines in HubSpot. The sales team will exactly know what the product life cycle of each machine is and react better on that (e.g. machine is outdated). The service team has the opportunity to deliver a personalized service, because they know which machine(s) a customer has.
But how exactly did we realize this and what were the challenges we faced?
As custom objects were still in beta, the user interface of HubSpot to set it up was not fully developed yet. Therefore, the initial setup requires some API calls for the definition of the custom object. In our case, we had to define the machine. But once that is done, you can actually enrich the object via the user interface e.g. to add additional attributes.
You can also manage the record creation popup
And set properties the end user sees when the custom object is associated with another standard HubSpot object
A second challenge we faced was due to the migration of machines from the CRM system. Holland Mechanics had a lot of attachments linked to the machine. This could be e.g. maintenance reports, history of spare parts used, or detailed documentation of the machine and its components.
Although it is really easy to migrate custom objects records using the load tools of HubSpot:
It is currently not possible yet to load attachments in bulk and associate them to the custom object. So we had to develop a small load tool to get them in. The results looks like this:
Finally, Holland Mechanics had a specific requirement linked to the build-up of their machine numbers, which is a concatenation of the machine type and serial number. For example, a machine with serial number 1234 of type AB gets machine number AB-1234. So when creating a machine in HubSpot, they wanted HubSpot to complete the machine number based on the serial number and machine type. Up until now, this was not possible with HubSpot. However, this is now possible using programmable automation.
According to Jim Smits, Sales & Marketing at Holland Mechanics: “This database helps us collect data in a modern way, creating a better customer view to enhance sales and service activities.” Moreover, they now have all machines in the field with the possibility to create endless custom machine properties.
Many companies are looking for a way to get a 360 degree view on their customers, for Holland Mechanics it’s important to know what’s going on with the machines when they are installed at the customer premises after the actual sale. The sales department can now even analyze the product life cycle of a machine model or see where over-aged machines meet time for replacement. This can be done through the new custom report builder in which many different properties can be gathered and analyzed. In addition it is possible to add custom object based workflows to improve automation for administrative actions around a machine. It requires careful implementation, but when done right it can save a lot of time.
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