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5 Things's Management Wants You to Know (NYSE: CRM  ) reported better than expected quarterly earnings results last week, sending the stock soaring 7% on Friday. The jump to roughly $60 per share finally brings the stock up to the S&P 500's performance for 2014 -- both up about 8% year to date. With the stock trading higher, it's a good time for a pulse check on this fast-growing cloud computing company. Here are five key takeaways from Salesforce's fiscal 2015 second-quarter earnings call that investors watching the company might find intriguing. offers the world's No. 1 customer relationship management application. Image source:

1. International markets offer key long-term growth opportunities
While 71% of Saleforce's revenue today comes from its Americas segment, its Europe and Asia-Pacific segments could serve as key growth markets in the future.

Salesforce President and Vice Chairman Keith Block emphasized the importance of international markets in the company's growth goals: "We're just beginning to scratch the surface on our international growth potential."

Amid sluggish rates in international markets today, this comment was good news. Both Europe and the Asia-Pacific are recording slower revenue growth for the company than the Americas segment. During the second quarter, the two markets' year-over-year quarterly revenue was up 36% and 27%, respectively. Comparatively, the company's Americas segment rose 39%.

2. Europe could drive revenue growth in the near term
Europe could particularly prove to be a growth catalyst for the company in the near term. Noting accelerating revenue growth rates on a sequential basis, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff cited a favorable cultural shift on the continent toward cloud customer relationship management, or CRM, services: "[W]e have just seen remarkable deal growth and sales in Europe over the last several years now is because ... they are now deeply committed and I believe earnestly adopting cloud in a whole new level."

3. An industry-specialized sales strategy looks like a winner

From Benioff:

Our industry strategy continues to gain traction. ... So it's early days and early months but we continue to see traction. Not only are we seeing this in larger deals and volume with larger deals, but just more meaningful dialogue across the board. 

As a proven strategy that has already been been implemented by other companies serving the enterprise markets with cloud strategies, it's no surprise that Salesforce's focus on catering to specific markets is working.

The company's boldness and rapid execution with this strategy is evident by its efforts to build solutions for the nascent wearables categories. Salesforce is already the enterprise leader in the fast-growing category.

4. On track with our growth goals
Given Salesforce's pricey valuation, it was good to see the company showing confidence in its growth story by boosting the quarterly and annual guidance and reaffirming that it's on track with its top-line goals.

Benioff said:

And now you can really see that clear trajectory, the $10 billion in revenue which has been our dream and when we start to get a look at our revenue, as well as our deferred business, you can start to connect the dots and see exactly how we're going to get there and the speed and rate and growth and we're super excited about our next big goal now after $5 billion which is going to be get to $10 billion.

In less than a year, the company surpassed a $4 billion annual revenue run rate and went on to reach its $5 billion goal. At this rate, the company could realistically hit an annual run rate of $10 billion in revenue in four years.

5. Profitability is on the way
While Salesforce is still reporting generally accepted accounting principles losses on the income statement, investors are betting the company can scale its business enough in the future to reach profitability. Benioff emphasized during the call that reaching profitability remains a priority and that progress is being made toward that end.

"And while we delivered world class growth, we also our grew our operating margin, something we're deeply committed to," he said.

Overall, the quarterly report card gleaned from the earnings call for this hot growth stock revealed a company that continues to score straight As on underlying business performance.

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  • Report this Comment On August 27, 2014, at 9:03 PM, bradhodson wrote:

    No doubt about it, all around the world the cloud CRM business is much seeing a greater amount of embrace from small, medium, and large businesses alike.

    There are still some holdouts, but cloud CRM really has advanced in terms of technology to the point where the negatives of the past are no longer an issue. This is a benefit to Salesforce and its competition, which have also adopted cloud deployment across the board.

    The next few years are going to be very interesting.

    Brad Hodson


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Daniel Sparks

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