Features and Flexibility Help BOMA International Manage an Efficient Call for Proposals

BOMA LogoBOMA International is the trade association for commercial real estate. Members are property managers for commercial class, mixed use, and industrial properties. The group organizes an annual conference and trade show for 3,000 attendees, including an educational component comprising six tracks: asset management, building operations, high-performance buildings, industrial real estate, leadership and career development, and tenant relations and retention. It also delivers trade- or product- specific content from the 350+ booth trade show floor. a2z has enhanced BOMA’s call for proposals with a flexible, end-to-end solution that makes it easy to grade and convert submitters into speakers efficiently.

Tightening Up the Submission Process
Streamlining a Call for Proposals program—getting as many as possible into the funnel, but being able to easily narrow down the field—is one of the greatest challenges for conference organizers. It requires a user-friendly procedure for submitters, an organized process for grading submissions, and a high level of flexibility for administrators. Communication with submitters is crucial too, says Marissa Mitzner, BOMA’s Director of Conference Programs. “It’s scary to get a call from a submitter four months after the deadline and have to tell them you didn’t receive their proposal,” she says.

A Feature-Packed Solution
BOMA implemented a2z’s Call for Proposals solution a number of years ago. Features include a one-click call for proposals, self-service online portal for submitters, distribution of the submissions to reviewers based on their industry expertise, reports, and easy conversion of the accepted proposals into sessions. “To get everything set up for reviewers takes about 30 minutes. Everything is done online and grading is performed using rubrics,” Mitzner explains.

Moving Proposals Through the Funnel
Over the years, Mitzner has discovered ways to leverage the module’s features. This year, for example, BOMA’s call for proposals yielded 240 submissions (a number which reviewers will whittle down to between 35 and 50). To make sure that every submission was acknowledged, Mitzner simply pulled a report and used one of the built-in email templates to broadcast confirmations to everyone listed. “This was my first time using templates and it made a world of difference in headaches and saving time. Pulling the report took about ten seconds and I avoided the future calls from people who thought they had submitted,” she says.

Leveraging the Convenience
Going forward, Mitzner will leverage two areas of the a2z Call for Proposals solution even further. In addition to using the module to “create more of a one-stop-shop speaker resource center,” she will continue to improve communication with submitters using a2z’s built-in email templates (for proposal acceptance and rejection) and advanced email capabilities. For example, by emailing from the a2z platform, she avoids having to merge emails from a2z’s database into her own email client or using the association’s server, which has a tendency to freeze up. a2z’s customer service will play a role in helping her leverage future upgrades too. “a2z is pleasant to work with and their staff is always friendly,” she adds.