Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) has been a boon to investors over the years, but it has been particularly lucrative for shareholders recently. The company has been regularly notching new all-time highs, which is an impressive feat for a company that now sports a $100 billion market cap.
The stock is up nearly 50% in the last year alone, which begs the question: What's driving Salesforce to these stratospheric heights?
1. Better-than-expected financial results
One of the biggest factors driving Salesforce's surging stock price is the company's better-than-expected financial results. In its most recent quarter, Salesforce produced revenue of $3 billion, up 25% year over year, generating adjusted earnings per share of $0.74. Both numbers exceeded the company's own ambitious forecast, while soaring past analysts' consensus estimates as well.
Even more importantly, this wasn't an isolated incident. The company has exceeded analysts' revenue growth targets in each of the past 12 successive quarters -- not an easy feat for any company.
2. Beat and raise
Not content to rest on its laurels, Saleforce also significantly raised its full-year guidance, saying it now expects fiscal 2019 revenue in a range of $13.075 billion to $13.125 billion, which would represent year-over-year growth of between 24% and 25%. This revised guidance was 3.75% higher than the forecast the company provided just three months ago, while also exceeding analysts' expectations for the year of revenue of $12.75 billion.
3. Analyst love fest
The company's consistent ability to beat expectations has resulted in a lot of love from the investing community, with analysts lavishing Salesforce with upgrades and ever-increasing price targets. John DiFucci with Jefferies upgraded the stock to buy, saying the company is reaping the benefits of its strategic relationships with enterprise customers, and he believes this strong momentum could continue for years to come.
4. Ambitious growth targets
If you think Salesforce's current growth is impressive, you ain't seen nothin' yet. The company plans on doubling its revenue to $20 billion by 2022, and it has even more ambitious targets beyond that. It's looking to achieve $40 billion by 2028, and $60 billion by 2034. Salesforce goes even further, with a goal of adding an additional $20 billion in revenue every six years going forward.
5. Industry accolades
It isn't just investors and analysts bestowing praise on Salesforce, but those that provide the rankings for the industry as well. In fact, Salesforce was recently named a leader in Gartner's (NYSE:IT) Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center for the 10th consecutive year running.
This isn't merely about bragging rights, as Gartner believes that companies identified as leaders "execute well against their current vision and are well positioned for tomorrow."
6. Expanding capabilities
Salesforce has long used innovation to keep rivals at bay, and the company isn't afraid to add selective tack-on acquisitions to increase its capabilities. The most recent, Mulesoft, is a platform that allows companies to pull data from disparate sources and applications, breaking apart the traditional information silos, and allowing the data to be integrated for analysis.
Earlier this year, Salesforce bought enterprise e-commerce company Cloudcraze, as well as Attic Labs, gaining control of its open-source decentralized database tool Noms, which helps users replicate and edit information across multiple devices simultaneously.
The common thread
The common thread that pervades these drivers is the virtuous cycle they create. Continued innovation leads to increased capabilities and greater industry accolades, which drives additional customer acquisition and engagement. More customers lead to greater revenue and profits, which in turn results in greater love from analysts -- all culminating in a soaring stock price.
Don't look now, but by the time you read this, Salesforce might be notching new all-time highs.