Image source: (NYSE:CRM) reported fiscal 2017 third-quarter results on Nov. 17. The cloud software leader continues to deliver strong revenue growth, positioning the company to surpass $10 billion in sales in the year ahead. results: The raw numbers


Q3 2017

Q3 2016

Year-Over-Year Change


$2.15 billion

$1.71 billion


Adjusted net income

$170.94 million

$140.52 million


Adjusted earnings per share (EPS)




Data source: Q3 2017 earnings release.

What happened with this quarter?

Total revenue leapt 25% year over year to $2.1 billion and 27% when excluding the effects of foreign currency fluctuations. The growth was broad-based, with all four of Salesforce's main business segments reporting double-digit sales increases.

Image source: Salesforce.

That strong performance is likely to continue in the quarters ahead, with deferred revenue increasing 23% to $3.5 billion Salesforce as of Oct. 31, and unbilled deferred revenue -- essentially business that is contracted but not yet invoiced -- rising 28% to $8.6 billion.

Image source: Salesforce.

"We had outstanding execution in the third quarter, closing a record number of large transactions as more and more companies look to Salesforce as their trusted advisor to redefine their customer strategies," said President and COO Keith Block in a press release. "No other enterprise software company is delivering customer success at this scale -- and certainly not at this pace."

Importantly, Salesforce's revenue growth is also boosting its cash generation, with operating cash flow improving 21%, to more than $1.4 billion, in the first three quarters of fiscal 2017.

Image source: Salesforce.

Still, Salesforce remains unprofitable on a GAAP basis, with third-quarter net loss per share coming in at $0.05. On an adjusted basis, non-GAAP earnings per share -- which exclude stock-based compensation, acquisition-related expenses, income tax adjustments, and certain other items -- rose 14% to $0.24.

Looking forward

Salesforce expects fourth-quarter revenue of $2.267 billion to $2.277 billion, which would be an increase of 25% to 26% from the prior year period. The company anticipates a GAAP loss of $0.10 to $0.09 per share, while non-GAAP earnings per share are projected to be in the range of $0.24 to $0.25. And deferred revenue is forecasted to rise approximately 22% to 23% year over year.

Looking even further ahead, Salesforce also issued a sales forecast for fiscal 2018, with full-year revenue expected to between $10.1 billion and $10.15 billion, representing an increase of 21% compared to fiscal 2017.

"I'm delighted to announce that we expect to deliver our first $10 billion year during our fiscal year 2018, which puts us well on the path to reach $20 billion faster than any other enterprise software company," said Chaiman and CEO Marc Benioff.

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