Sales Jump 27% at

By Joe (NYSE: CRM) reported fiscal 2017 fourth-quarter results on Feb. 28. The software-as-a-service pioneer continues to grow at a blistering pace, and it remains on track to surpass $10 billion in sales faster than any enterprise software company in history.

Continue Reading Below results: The raw numbers

Data source: Q4 2017 earnings release.

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What happened with this quarter?

Total revenue jumped 27% year over year to$2.3 billion, and 28% when adjusting for the effects of foreign exchange rate movements. The growth was broad-based, with all four of Salesforce's main business segments reporting robust sales increases.

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Moreover, deferred revenue leapt 29% to $5.5 billion as ofJan. 31, and unbilled deferred revenue -- essentially business that is contracted but not yet invoiced -- grew 27% to $9 billion.

"We now have $14.5 billion of booked business on and off the balance sheet, up 28%; it's just beyond our expectations," said Chaiman and CEO Marc Benioff during a conference call with analysts. "We are absolutely thrilled with the performance of the company, and these are clear financial indicators of how well we're doing and also how well we're going to do in the future." Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff. Image source:

Salesforce's cash flow growth was even more impressive, with operating cash flow surging 50% to $706 million in the fourth quarter.

Still, Salesforce remains unprofitable on a GAAP basis, with fourth-quarter net loss per share coming in at $0.07. On an adjusted basis, non-GAAP earnings per share -- which exclude stock-based compensation, acquisition-related expenses, income tax adjustments, and certain other items -- increased 47% to $0.28.

Looking forward

For the first quarter, Salesforce expects revenue of $2.34 billion to $2.35 billion, representing growth of 22% to 23% year over year. The company is projecting a GAAP loss of $0.02 to $0.03 per share, while non-GAAP EPS is forecast to be $0.25 to $0.26. And Salesforce anticipates deferred revenue will increase approximately 22% to 23% year over year.

Salesforce also issued updated guidance for fiscal 2018, including:

  • Revenue of approximately$10.15 billion to $10.20 billion, an increase of 21% to 22% compared to fiscal 2017, and up from prior estimates of $10.1 billion to $10.15 billion.
  • Operating cash flow growth of 20% to 21% year over year.
  • GAAP earnings per share of $0.05 to $0.07 and non-GAAP earnings per share of $1.27 to $1.29.

"For fiscal 2018, we expect to deliver more than$10 billionin revenue -- reaching that milestone faster than any enterprise software company in history," saidPresident and COO Keith Block. "No other software company of our size and scale is growing at this rate."

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Joe Tenebruso has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.