Capping off a turnaround year, FireEye (NASDAQ:FEYE) posted solid fourth-quarter results, which gave the stock a post-earnings bump. The cybersecurity company has been under the microscope lately, with the stock down 55% in the last three years, and a new CEO, Kevin Mandia, who has a plan to right the ship.

As you'll see below, Mandia had a lot to say about the record-setting quarter and what's going right. Read on for details of the record results, new product sales, and how its marketing message and sales force are improving to give management confidence that growth will continue into 2018.

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1. It had a record quarter

In regards to our Q4 performance, we exceeded our guidance ranges for all of our key financial metrics. Our Q4 billings of $242.2 million were the second highest in our history. ... Our quarterly revenue exceeded $200 million for the first time ever. ... FireEye Endpoint Security had its best quarter ever, Mandiant Services had their best quarter ever, our threat-intelligence business had its best quarter ever. Our appliance sales increased year over year for the first time since Q3 of 2015, and we had more million-dollar transactions than any other quarter in our history.

-- CEO, Kevin Mandia

Any way you measure it, FireEye had a great quarter. The company has been focused on its turnaround since Mandia became CEO in June 2016, and this quarter's results show that the momentum from all the changes has materialized. Combined with its 9.5% revenue growth for the quarter, the company projected over 9% growth for 2018 (at guidance midpoint), which shows that management is confident growth has returned.

A hacker in a dark room hunched over a laptop with the glow of the screen highlighting his fingers and dark hoodie.

Image source: Getty Images.

2. Its flagship product's growth is accelerating

Helix gained momentum in Q4 as we added 116 customers to the platform, up from 57 customers adopting Helix in the third quarter. We were especially pleased to see customers adopting Helix across a wide range of geographies and industries. ... In fact, after only three full quarters of availability, Helix has been adopted by customers in 14 countries and in 11 different industries.

-- Mandia

FireEye's newest product, Helix, brought together all the company's disparate products that it had built over the years from numerous acquisitions and product development efforts and put them into a single platform in the cloud. Since release at the end of Q1-2017, the product has seen widespread customer adoption despite the efforts required to upgrade. The company went on to say that 20% of the $1 million deals in the quarter had Helix as a significant revenue contributor. It's an encouraging sign that not only are customers buying the new product, but it also is becoming a meaningful revenue contributor.

3. Its marketing is better

Our innovation allows us to simplify our go-to-market strategies on multiple fronts including pricing, packaging and messaging. Our new chief marketing officer Vasu Jakkal and her team are laser-focused on simplifying our messaging and getting the FireEye story out to our customers, partners and our prospects. I believe their initiatives are already producing results, and we are just getting started.

-- Mandia

With FireEye's transition to a single comprehensive cloud-based service, it is a great opportunity to simplify its go-to-market message. Mandia said that the company's customers are saying, "Hey, listen: Take care of this security problem for me ..." A more concise message about how FireEye can help deliver a comprehensive security solution allows the sales team to talk with more than just the customer's tech team. This new go-to-market strategy has already shown benefits for the sales force.

4. The sales team is more productive

Over the past year, the productivity and morale of our sales team has improved dramatically under the leadership of our head of sales Bill Robbins and his new team. We entered 2018 with an energized, execution-oriented field of sales professionals, supported by a new marketing machine ...

-- Mandia

FireEye made a number of key changes in its sales leadership in the past year, and it's paying off. Frank Verdecanna, chief financial officer, pointed to the record number of $1 million sales transactions in the quarter as evidence that sales productivity has improved. Additionally, the company met or exceeded its sales goals in every region around the world. This "energized" sales team will be crucial for the company to maintain the growth momentum into 2018.

To put a cherry on the fourth-quarter sundae, FireEye met its commitment to post a non-GAAP operating profitability. This was the first time in company history that it achieved that result. Investors have been waiting a long time to see this kind of quarter from FireEye and will be looking for a repeat performance in Q1.


Brian Withers owns shares of FireEye. The Motley Fool recommends FireEye. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.