Customer Relationship Management(CRM) is the foundation of your business — it houses your relationships and processes. Managing this information efficiently can be a challenge, though, because there’s no “out of the box” system that suits all of your business needs.
Your CRM, therefore, must have custom capabilities.
In this post, we’ll be highlighting how to set up and use CRM cards in HubSpot to better manage your data. You’ll learn what a CRM card is, how they work, how they might be helpful for your business, and how to identify their custom capabilities.
Image source: HubSpot.
The HubSpot CRM provides standard objects and HubSpot-defined objects that represent different types of relationships and processes. For each of these objects, you create individual records that include properties that can be used to share data and track business interactions. These records are tied to standard objects such as your contact, company, deal, or ticket.
The trouble is that while each record listed above includes data that lives in HubSpot, there may also be applicable data tied to a record that’s not available to view in HubSpot. This is where CRM cards come into play.
Below you’ll learn more about:
- What a CRM card is
- How a CRM card can be helpful
- How a CRM card works
- What you need to get started
Now, let’s dive in!
What is a CRM card?
A CRM card is a card within a HubSpot record that displays data from an external app or service tied to that record.
The image above shows a contact record with the CRM card on the right side.
Why CRM Cards are Helpful
When your organization or business has multiple teams using different apps, it can create chaos from a data perspective.
When teams are using multiple apps or services, including the HubSpot CRM for different business functions, reps are forced to bounce from app to app to collect data, which can lead to missed or duplicated information.
CRM cards provide a solution that allows your external apps or services to display data within HubSpot. The card displays data that is being pulled from an external service and it can be viewed in the sidebar within a HubSpot contact, company, deal, or ticket record.
Let’s explore a couple of different use cases for a custom card.
Use Case #1:
Your business uses an external service for documents that allows you to build proposals and contracts and send them to customers whenever your rep makes a deal. These documents are related to both a deal and a company within your HubSpot CRM.
Instead of the rep having to check the external service for a document's status and update their records in the CRM, a custom card can display the status of the document directly on the company record in a single location.
Use Case #2:
Your business provides customers with a product. You have a support team that manages bugs or issues for the customers, but it’s the engineering team that resolves the issues — and they use an external service, such as Jira or GitHub, to track their development progress. Your support team, however, doesn’t have access to the Jira board or whatever tool your engineers use to track their work.
A solution that allows your engineers to share their progress with your support team using HubSpot is to include a CRM card applicable to that contact or company record and add an iFrame action that opens a window to the specific Jira task. This way the support team can see what they need to know about the bug and its progress in one place on HubSpot without needing to look at another app or service.
How do they work?
A custom card is a blank slate, so this is where the fun begins!
There are two different approaches to setting up your data to display on the CRM card in HubSpot.
- Configuring CRM Cards within the App Settings
- Configuring CRM Cards through the HubSpot API endpoints
You can use both of these approaches to set up, modify or delete the information displayed on the CRM card.
Essentially, the HubSpot API enables you to set up and manage the CRM card. Once the card is set up, each time the target record types are viewed in HubSpot, HubSpot makes a fetch request to your external service and uses the returned data to display the information on the CRM card. The diagram above exemplifies how data is shared between services and displayed on the CRM card whether your configure through the App Settings or the API.
For this post we will walk you through how to display your data on the CRM card following the App Setting approach step-by-step and highlight the fundamentals when adding a CRM card with the HubSpot API endpoints. To begin you will need to complete the prerequisites listed below to access the App Settings within the CRM.
Configuring CRM Cards Within the App Settings
In order to configure your custom CRM card from an app, you need to complete the following steps first:
The developer account will allow you to build apps that enable you to package functionality to share with a HubSpot end-user. This is why we need to create an app to create the CRM card.
You can create an app by navigating to the “Apps” tab and clicking on the “Create app” button, shown above. Once you’ve created the app, you will need to fill out some information and settings.
Now we can begin creating the CRM card!
Create CRM Card
To create a CRM card, click on the “CRM cards” button on the left-hand navigation tied to the app you created. Then, click on the “Create CRM card” button (see the screenshot below).
CRM Data Request
When the card is created, you’ll begin by clicking on the “Data request” tab in the UI to add the data fetch URL, which will fetch and return data to display on the CRM card. This action is essentially a webhook. The URL is sent with a payload providing information for the associated CRM record of the card. That information can contain properties that are associated with the object type the CRM card is configured to.
This request includes the associatedObjectType parameter that defines the type of object the user is requesting data about. In our example, we are fetching a request when the end user views a company record and displays the information on the card.
You can learn more about these parameters here, and reference the third tab under “Webhooks.”
Once you’ve established your fetch URL for the CRM card, you can then define your card properties.
CRM Card Properties
Within the CRM card are properties. You can add these properties by clicking on the “Card properties” tab and adding the ones you’d like displayed, including the following requirements:
- Property Name
- Display Label
- Data Type
Any properties added to a CRM card will appear as the primary content for the card.
CRM Card Custom Actions
In addition to the properties listed above, you can also add custom actions dynamically in the response to the fetch request. The setting shown below on the “Custom actions” tab within the UI is where you add the base URL.
The base URL added to this tab must match the base URL that the action URL lists in that response. Below, we will identify what this would look like with the “uri” field within a specific action type. Keep in mind that you can set up multiple base URLs for actions as well in the card settings.
Let’s learn more about the different types of actions and how they can be defined. The three types of actions are:
- Action Hook
- iFrame Actions
- Confirmation Actions
If you want to add an action to the CRM card that only allows a user to view a success or error message and that requires no confirmation or input, the Action Hook is your best choice.
When a user clicks on the link or button for an action hook, HubSpot sends a server-side request to your app, based on the definition within the JSON response:
These actions are what you might assume — they open a modal within HubSpot with an iFrame that points to a URL.
Perhaps you have a web app that’s designed to be displayed within an iFrame in HubSpot. This action would support that functionality, allowing you to display the app for that record.
Here’s an example of the iFrame action definition:
Confirmation actions behave similarly to action hooks. The only difference is that the former returns a confirmation dialog to the user before running the server-side request.
See the example definition below for the JSON response:
You can learn more about these actions and their capabilities here.
Configuring CRM Cards Through the API
As you might imagine, you can do everything we discussed above via the HubSpot API.
This approach is simply an API version of the same configuration we walked through already when setting up the CRM cards in HubSpot from the public app settings.
You can use the API to GET/CREATE/DELETE/UPDATE a CRM card. When creating a CRM card,you will send a POST request. Your path might look something like this in Postman:
Here’s an example of the JSON schema to create a CRM card:
In the example above, we are sending a request to create a new CRM card for contact records. However, it’s important to note that in this example, we’re passing an appId. You need to create the app first in your HubSpot developer account before you’re able to create a CRM card.
Now you have a high-level overview of how to set up your CRM cards to display your data in HubSpot as an easy way to view all data related to a record in a single place.
Stay tuned to learn more about our CRM customization updates — and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or feedback!