How Fillmore Construction streamlines project identification with Mercator AI

About Fillmore Construction 

Fillmore Construction is headquartered in Edmonton Alberta, and has proudly served Western Canada since 1991. With offices in Edmonton, Kelowna and soon to be opening in Calgary the future is bright. They excel in diverse construction projects, including commercial, professional, institutional, multi-family, seniors, light industrial, and food processing facilities. With over 30 years of experience, their expertise spans pre-construction services and various contracting types, making them industry leaders in delivering exceptional projects and fostering strong client relationships.

The Challenge

Time-consuming project identification methods

James Behnke, the Business and Project Development Manager at Fillmore Construction, is no stranger to the importance of connections and information in his role. To turn potential project opportunities into reality, he heavily relies on a network of subcontractors, suppliers, architects, engineers, owners, developers, and owner project managers for valuable insights. While James has found success in leveraging his industry connections, he still grapples with certain challenges, such as identifying new opportunities and identifying/cultivating new long term clients.

James spends a lot of time researching and connecting with his network to gather important information about upcoming projects. However, this process is time-consuming and can be difficult when contacts are unable to disclose critical project details due to NDA’s or other constraints. James wants to focus on having more productive and informed discussions instead of just searching for information. He calls this challenge the "unknown unknowns."

"The biggest challenge is finding information that I normally wouldn't know or is outside of my purview/relationships, I call it the unknown-unknowns. I have to rely on people to get this information. There are a lot of times I'm talking to existing relationships, and they aren't allowed to share information. But if I can proactively bring something up and show I already know about it, they are far more comfortable talking to me about it. If I can give myself an in and it's not a cold call, there is a big difference in the outcome. Knowledge is power and having a bigger, more accurate picture of the potential opportunities helps shape the direction of our business." 
James Behnke, Business & Project Development Manager


The Solution

A centralized hub for self-sufficient project research

James and Fillmore first encountered Mercator AI through a presentation at the Edmonton Construction Association. What instantly caught James's attention was the volume of information that Mercator provided. Mercator collects, analyzes, and transforms millions of industry data points into project insights which saves James a considerable amount of time and simplifies the research process.

The core value James derived from Mercator was in time-saving and eliminating unproductive opportunities. His ultimate goal was always to convert opportunities into projects, and Mercator provided James with quick access to information to qualify or disqualify a project, ensuring he didn't waste valuable time on opportunities that were at the wrong stage or already had other contractors involved.

"It's [Mercator] about identifying projects early to potentially be a part of the opportunity. As soon as I can find out the information I need, like who the owner is or if there is already a contractor assigned, I can dive in or conversely eliminate that opportunity in order to focus my energy elsewhere. It's all about efficiency for me." 
James Behnke, Business & Project Development Manager

Mercator allowed James to be more independent in his research, and reduced his reliance on word-of-mouth information. By accessing early opportunity signals like rezoning details, development permits, building permits, and real estate information in one place, he could quickly spot potential projects at an earlier stage and gain a competitive advantage by initiating conversations with project owners before competitors even entered the scene. 

"I like having the edge Mercator gives me. I like to drive the process myself, so having the control to get information from a system and not having to rely on word of mouth gives me a lot more opportunity to find projects quickly."
James Behnke, Business & Project Development Manager

James was also able to quickly identify the companies involved in a potential opportunity, making it easy for him to focus on the ones where he has an established relationship instead of trying to infiltrate an opportunity without any prior connection. 

Takeaways

In the realm of construction, time is money, and Mercator AI allowed James to enhance the efficiency of his business development process, and gain fast access to critical information that informs conversations and enables him to make data-driven decisions on new opportunities without needing to rely on word of mouth information. For James, the Fillmore partnership with Mercator unlocked a new level of autonomy when identifying new projects, and improved where he dedicated his time and energy by quickly qualifying or disqualifying opportunities. 

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