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CRM Setup

Create and use association labels

Last updated: September 20, 2022

Applies to:

Marketing Hub Professional, Enterprise
Sales Hub Professional, Enterprise
Service Hub Professional, Enterprise
Operations Hub Professional, Enterprise
CMS Hub Professional, Enterprise

In your HubSpot account, you can associate records to connect them in your database. Super admins in Professional and Enterprise accounts can also label the association to specify the relationship between associated standard CRM objects.

If you'd like to automate associations in your system, learn more about operations-related apps in the HubSpot App Marketplace.

Create and edit association labels

All HubSpot accounts can use the primary label for companies, but in Professional and Enterprise accounts, admins can create custom association labels to specify the relationship between associated records. Association labels can describe relationships between all standard CRM objects, including contacts, companies, deals, tickets, and custom objects. For example:

  • A contact can be Manager at one company, but also Former employee at another company.
  • A deal can have multiple associated contacts, one who is the Decision maker and another who is the Billing contact.

You can create up to 10 labels per object pair (e.g., Contact > Deal) and the labels are bi-directional (e.g., if you create an association label for Contact > Company, the label will also be created for Company > Contact). You cannot create association labels for a same object relationship such as Contact > Contact.

To create an association label:

  • In your HubSpot account, click the settings settings icon in the main navigation bar.
  • In the left sidebar menu, navigate to Objects, then select the object you’d like to create an association label for.
  • Click the Associations tab.
  • Click Create association.
  • In the right panel:
    • Click the Associate [Objects] with dropdown menu, then select the other object you're creating the association label for.
    • In the Association label field, enter the name of the label you want.

create-association-label

  • At the bottom, click Create.
  • Once the label has been created, return to your record and refresh the page. The label will now appear for you to select.

You can also edit or delete existing association labels. To manage existing association labels:

  • Use the Select object dropdown to only view labels of a specific relationship, for example, Deal > Contact. You can also use the Filter by dropdown menus to filter your labels based on cardinality (1-to-many or 1-1) or which user created the label. 
  • To edit or delete an individual label, hover over the label, then:
    • Click Edit. In the right panel, edit the name of the label, then click Save.
    • Click Delete. Select the checkbox to acknowledge that you can't restore a deleted label, then click Delete to confirm. If a label is used within records or other HubSpot tools, you'll first need to remove the labels from those assets before deleting. To view where a label is being used:
      • Hover over Delete, then click View which automations your association label is used in in the pop-up box.
      • In the right panel, click a record or tool name to navigate to the asset that uses the label.

Set or update record association labels

You can edit the primary company on a record as well as add or remove your own custom labels. You can update labels for your records' associations directly on a record or set association labels in bulk via import. To update a label on a record:

  • To add new associations and label them, locate the relevant object section in the right panel, then click Add. You can associate an existing record or create and associate a new record. In the right panel:
    • If you're associating multiple or any additional companies to a record, you can do one of the following:
      • To set the primary company, select Set as [record]'s primary company under the company you want to be primary. If you're associating a record's first company, it will be primary by default.
      • To replace the existing primary company with a company you're associating, select the Replace [company] as [record]'s current primary checkbox.
    • To set a label for the association, click Add association label. In the dropdown menu, select an appropriate label. If no existing labels accurately describe the relationship between the record and the company, click Manage association labels to create a new label.

set-association-label

  • To edit labels for an existing association, hover over the association card that you want to edit, then click More:
manage-associations
    • Set as primary (Companies only): for associated companies, select to make the company association primary. In the dialog box, select the checkbox and click Update. This primary association will be the associated company shown in the records index pages, and be referenced by lists, workflows, cross-object reports, and personalization tokens.
    • Remove as primary (Companies only): for associated companies, select to remove this company association as primary. In the dialog box, use the dropdown menu to select a new primary company, then click Update.
    • Edit association: select to update the association label. In the dialog box, click the dropdown menu and select a new label or click x to remove a label. Click Update.

edit-association-label-dialog-box

Please note: by default, the first company you associate with a record is the primary company. The following scenarios apply to the primary company:

The default Primary label is only available for [Object] > Company relationships. For example, you can set a primary company on a contact record, but you can't set a primary contact on a company record. If you're in a Professional or Enterprise account, you can create a custom primary label for other object relationships.


Use association labels in HubSpot tools

Once you've created association labels to describe relationships between records, you can add association labels to new or existing associations on a record or in bulk via import. You can then filter by these labels in HubSpot tools such as lists, workflows, and custom reports. Learn more about possible use cases for the new associations.

Please note: association labels are not supported for sync via the HubSpot-Salesforce integration.

Filter by associations in lists

When creating a contact or company-based list, you can filter your records based on their associations. For contact-based lists, you can filter based on contacts' primary company associations. Users in Professional and Enterprise accounts can also filter records in lists by association labels.

  • Create or edit a list.
  • Select the [Object] properties filter that corresponds to the associated object. For example, if you're creating a contact list and want to set criteria based on company associations, you would select Company properties.
  • Select a property to filter by.
  • By default, the list will include records when any associated records of that object fit the criteria. You can also set your criteria based on the primary company association or a custom association label. To do so, click the Any [object] dropdown menu: 

updated-list-filter-with-labels

    • Select Any [object] to filter based on all associated records of that object type (e.g., the list would include a contact when any of their associated companies meet the criteria).
    • If you're creating a contact-based list, select Primary [object] to filter based on only the primary associated company (e.g., the list would include a contact only if the primary associated company meets the criteria).
    • In the With label section, select a label to filter based on only associations that use the selected label (e.g., the list would include a contact only if they have an associated company with that label and that company meets the criteria).
  • Once you're done setting list criteria, in the top right, click Save list.

Use association labels in workflows

Once you've created association labels, you can use them to trigger enrollment and certain actions within workflows.

Workflow enrollment criteria and if/then branches

You can use association labels in contact, company, deal, ticket, or custom object-based workflows when setting enrollment triggers and triggers for if/then branches. Association labels are not supported for triggers in contact-based workflows.

To set triggers based on association labels:

  • Create a workflow
  • In the workflow editor:
    • To set enrollment triggers, click Set enrollment triggers. 
    • To create and if/then branch, click the + plus icon to add a new action, then in the right panel, select If/then branch.
  • In the right panel, select a filter type. Select the associated object that has the property you want to use.
  • Select a property, set your criteria, then click Apply filter.
  • By default, workflow enrollment will be triggered based on the associated Primary company for company filters,
    and will be based on all associated records for contact, deal, ticket, or custom object filters. To set which specific associations the criteria should apply to, click the Primary company or All [objects] dropdown menu.

association-label-workflow-trigger

  • In the dropdown menu, select an association label. The workflow will only enroll a record if their associated records fit the criteria and have the selected association label.
  • Once you're done setting your triggers, at the bottom, click Save.

Workflow actions

You can also use association labels in contact, company, deal, ticket, or custom object-based workflows to trigger the following workflow actions: Send email (Company-based workflows only), Set a property value, Copy a property value, and Clear a property value.

To use association labels in a workflow action:

  • Create a workflow
  • To add a workflow action, click the + plus icon.
    • If you're creating a workflow to edit a property value, select Set a property value, Copy a property value, or Clear a property value.
      • In the right panel, click the Target property type dropdown menu, and select the associated object for which you're editing a property. 
      • Click the Association label dropdown menu and select the label to filter by. When a record is enrolled in the workflow, this action will only update the property for associated records if the selected label is used to describe the association.

set-property-association-label-workflow

    • If you're creating a company-based workflow to send an email, select Send email.
      • In the right panel, click the Association label dropdown menu and select the labels to filter by. To send the email to all associated contacts, select All contacts. 
      • Select an email. When a company is enrolled in the workflow, the email will only be sent to their associated contacts if the selected labels are used to describe the contact-company association.

association-label-workflow

  • At the bottom, click Save.

Use association labels in custom reports

In custom reports with multiple data sources, you can use association labels to specify which records to include in the report based on their labels. You can also use association labels as an axis, break down field, or filter in your custom report.

  • In your HubSpot account, navigate to Reports > Reports.
  • In the upper right, click Create custom report.
  • In the left panel, select Custom report builder.
  • Select your data sources:
    • Select the primary source by clicking the Primary data source dropdown menu and selecting a primary source. The primary source you select affects which labels are available. For example, a report with a primary data source of Contacts will only include labels you've created within your contact association settings.

custom-report-builder-select-data-sources

    •  Select your secondary sources by choosing from the CRMMarketingSalesService, and Custom objects (Enterprise only) sections. In order to use labels, you'll need to select at least one additional CRM object.
  • At the top of the data source editor, click Customize associations.
  • In the dropdown menu, select the labels you want to include in the report.  You can select the All [objects] checkbox to include all associated records of that object, regardless of their labels. This will be selected by default if there are no defined labels for an object relationship.
  • You can click Back to data sources to continue editing your sources, or click Next to continue. You can update your data sources and associations at any time in the report builder by clicking Edit data sources in the left sidebar.

association-labels-in-reports


Association labels

  • To use association labels as an axis or break down field in your report, search and select Association Label in the left panel of the report builder, then click and drag it to the Configure tab. For example, you manage apartment rentals and have created a custom Rentals object with two association labels for long-term and short-term leases. To split your report data by these labels:
    • Click and drag the Rentals association label to the X-axis channel.
    • Click and drag the Count of contacts property to the Y-axis channel.
    • Then, click and drag the Original Source property to the Break down by channel. 
    • The chart will show how many contacts have rented a short term and long term stay and what source they found the rental.

associations-report

    • Alternatively, you could click and drag the Rentals Association Label field to the Break down by channel to create a single-column report with long-term and short-term leases separated by color.

Add filters

  • To add an Association label as a filter, click the Filters tab, then click and drag Association label to the filter field. For example, to only report on contacts with a rentals association label of Short-term:
    • Click the Rentals Association Label filter.
    • Select is any of, and click Short-term.

associations-filter-short-term

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