How often do you find yourself exporting lists from your CRM and importing them into Eloqua? Or wishing there was a better way to track form submission referral sources, or needing to segment data from other business systems from within Eloqua? Custom objects are a fantastic way to solve these business problems.
For those of you who are new to the concept of custom objects (also known as data cards), they're basically an extension of Eloqua's standard data objects (contacts, companies, etc.), that allow you to create a many-to-one relationship of custom records with a standard data record in Eloqua. For example, you could create a custom object to interact with one of the webinar connectors on the Eloqua AppCloud that will store all of the webinar attendance data to a custom object record, that can be easily related to a contact, and segmented on from the Eloqua segment builder, or can be scored on through the Eloqua lead scoring system. The custom object could store all of the attendance data unique to that webinar session (length of time watching, attendee status, etc.), in its own record, which could result in many records for the same contact, because a contact could register for many webinars.
At DocuSign, we're avid fans of custom objects. We use custom objects to sync all campaign members from our CRM, allowing us to easily segment on any campaign association (whether it was sourced from Eloqua or not). We use custom objects to track form submission referrals and blind form submit sources through query strings so we can see all the different referrals for a given form, and see from which referrals any given contact came from. Additionally, we sync DocuSign product data to custom objects so we can make real-time nurture decisions based off of their product usage. We build custom objects to achieve advanced segmentation capabilities, from multiple business systems, so we can deliver better, more-engaging content to our prospects and customers.
An example of custom objects in use can be seen in one of our nurture series where we check to see if a user sent any DocuSign envelopes on any of their accounts, and we determine which email to send based off of that usage data (screenshot below).
So how do you get started? There are some great resources and articles on Topliners to get you started with the process. I've documented the process for syncing Salesforce campaign members to a custom object record which I encourage you to use if you find yourself doing a lot of exporting and importing of records from Salesforce into Eloqua. There are additional articles below as well for your reference. My recommendation, however, is to just think of the data you'd find useful to have in Eloqua. What data from your other business systems would improve your segmentation, reporting, and content pertinence? Custom objects might be a great way for you to achieve a heightened success with your automation!