Shares of enterprise software provider (CRM -2.45%) spiked higher after a stellar start to 2018 was reported and the outlook for the full year was raised. CEO Marc Benioff has put together an impressive track record of clearing his own high bar and raising it again, and this quarter was no exception. With a couple of fresh strategic moves complete, Salesforce is on track to meet its aggressive ambitions in the next few years.

Putting the numbers in context

Revenue increased 25% year over year to $3.01 billion, and operating cash flow was up 19% to $1.47 billion. Full-year revenue guidance was raised to $13.075 billion to $13.125 billion (previously $12.6 billion to $12.65 billion). Operating cash flow for the year is expected to increase 14% to 15% from 2017.

What's so impressive about Salesforce's numbers is its size. Growth rates tend to slow the bigger a company gets, but this software giant is showing no signs of letting up anytime soon.


FY 2014

FY 2015

FY 2016

FY 2017

FY 2018

FY 2019 Guidance


$4.07 billion

$5.37 billion

$6.67 billion

$8.39 billion

$10.5 billion

$13.075 billion to $13.125 billion

Year-over-year change






24% to 25%

Fiscal years end in January of the year given. Chart by author. Data source: Salesforce quarterly earnings reports.

Credit homegrown software developments as well as ambitious acquisitions plugged into the Salesforce ecosystem for the fast growth. A wide array of offerings -- which span customer relationship management, marketing, and commerce -- are helping attract new customers and helping the internal sales team cross-sell to existing customers. Its latest software acquisition, app and data integrator service MuleSoft, was used to start up a new segment called Platform Cloud that serves the multi-billion dollar digital transformation industry that is under way.

Two men and a woman huddle around a laptop in an office.

Image source: Getty Images.

The money is following software

That new segment will be a nice addition, but Salesforce's other software offerings are still going strong, too. Paired with a 36% increase in "remaining contract price" to $20.4 billion -- defined as revenue under contract but not yet billed -- it looks like the company has plenty of momentum.


Q1 FY 2019 Revenue

Year-Over-Year Change

Sales Cloud

$965 million


Service Cloud

$848 million


Platform and Other

$575 million


Marketing and Commerce Cloud

$422 million


Chart by author. Data source: Salesforce quarterly earnings.

It may seem improbable with a market cap of over $95 billion as of this writing, but Salesforce's stock could still have plenty of room to run. Plenty of businesses are still adopting its services in the U.S., but only 30% of revenues came from abroad last quarter. That percentage is growing fast, though. International revenues grew 43% over the same period a year ago.

The bottom line isn't of primary concern at this point with the company in high-growth mode, but for what its worth, it's increasing too. Full-year adjusted earnings per share, which backs out items like stock-based compensation, should be $2.29 to $2.31. It was $1.35 in 2017. Based on that figure, the forward price-to-earnings ratio for the current fiscal year is 57.4. Over half a century's worth of profits is a steep price to pay, but if Salesforce can keep going at its current pace and worry about profitability down the road, it could nevertheless be an acceptable price.

It's a big world, and this last report just demonstrated that Salesforce is still early on in tapping its full potential.