Salesforce Boosts Its Outlook Once Again

Shares of (NYSE: CRM) were down slightly after the company reported another guidance-topping performance in the second quarter of its 2019 fiscal year. Even though the numbers were great, investors took a breather after the 50% run-up on the stock so far this year. This type of action is par for the course at Salesforce, though, and the company's prospects look stronger than ever.

First, the numbers...

As with all Salesforce quarterly reports, the top line was the most anticipated metric ahead of this report. Management once again didn't disappoint. In what has become the company's modus operandi, revenue topped guidance given a few months prior, and full-year revenue expectations were increased. The previous full-year sales estimate of $13.075 billion to $13.125 billion was raised to $13.125 billion to $13.175 billion.

Profits aren't of primary concern for Salesforce at the moment; it's all about expanding total revenue as extra cash from operations is piled back into the business. However, for what it's worth, profitability also got a big bump in the quarter. The operating cash flow estimate for the full year was bumped up to 15% to 16% year-over-year growth compared with previous expectations of 14% to 15%.

Unstoppable momentum?

Salesforce has been on a tear in 2018 with a series of acquisitions -- including the $6.5 billion deal to acquire integration software provider MuleSoft -- and the new businesses are resulting in accelerating growth. Salesforce's top-line pace has never dipped below 20%, and that rate doesn't look like it will be slowing down anytime soon. "Remaining performance obligations," revenue under contract that have not yet been recognized, increased 36% year over year to $21 billion.

New services are being added all the time, and management reports that MuleSoft is already off to a fast start. As the company has done with other acquisitions over the years, new product is quickly incorporated into sales conversations with new and existing customers, and MuleSoft is apparently already a central conversation piece with every prospective client. Salesforce has moved beyond the customer relationship management software it's best known for, and is now at the heart of the general digital transformation that is underway. Co-CEO Marc Benioff had this to say:

All of those new services are now firmly in the driver's seat. While the sales and service cloud segments grew 13% and 27%, respectively, the smaller platform and marketing and commerce clouds climbed 54% and 37% from a year ago. With the company's bread and butter still expanding at a healthy rate and new software having no problem winning new customers, Salesforce stock looks better than ever.

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