If investors were looking for a reason to keep betting on salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) even after its sharp 64% rise over the past 12 months, JMP Securities' analyst Patrick Walravens (via Barron's) thinks he has one. In a note to investors this week, the analyst shared some bullish commentary on the cloud-based customer relationship management platform company.
Walravens, who previously had a 12-month price target of $140 for Salesforce, increased his target to $163. The revised target represents 12% upside from where shares are trading at the time of this writing.
"Firing on all cylinders"
Walraven's more optimistic outlook for Salesforce follows a conversation he had with an industry source he views as a "competitor and occasional partner," the analyst said. The source noted that Salesforce has been "firing on all cylinders." Walravens said his source cited customers' "perception that [Salesforce is] good to do business with [and] ... cares about how customers do."
Of course, solid performance would be nothing new. The company has been seeing significant momentum recently, resulting in management repeatedly raising its full-year outlook for revenue. In Salesforce's first quarter of fiscal 2019, management increased its expected range for fiscal 2019 revenue to between $13.075 billion and $13.125 billion -- up from previous guidance for revenue between $12.6 billion and $12.65 billion. Initially, Salesforce had expected fiscal 2019 revenue to be between $12.45 billion and $12.50 billion.
Salesforce's first-quarter revenue increased 25% year over year -- and management expects 25% year-over-year revenue growth again in its second quarter of fiscal 2019.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said the company's overall first-quarter performance represented "phenomenal momentum."
Even beyond the first half of Salesforce's fiscal 2019, management expects more strong growth. The company's full-year revenue guidance range implies 24% to 25% year-over-year growth for the period.
Salesforce's reputation is paying dividends
It's true that Salesforce is widely perceived as the go-to solution for customer relationship management and sales-based platforms. As Benioff emphasized in the company's most recent earnings call (via a Thomson Reuters transcript), the company dominates the markets in which it operates -- and this leadership only seems to be increasing:
With another quarter of amazing growth, we've strengthened our position as the world's leading CRM company. Earlier this month, IDC named Salesforce the No. 1 CRM provider for the fifth consecutive year. In fact, according to IDC, we increased our CRM market share in 2017 by more percentage points than the rest of the top 20 CRM vendors combined. We're the No. 1 in sales, No. 1 in service, No. 1 in marketing, and we have the No. 1 CRM platform.
As the pioneer of the software-as-a-service business model, Salesforce has carved out major mindshare across varying industries as the best solution for improving customer relationship management and sales. Best of all, since Salesforce's business model benefits significantly from scale, the more dominant it becomes, the more profitable its business will be, and the better it will be able to service its customers.
Of course, investors won't be able to confirm whether Walravens' industry source was well-informed or not until the company reports its second-quarter results, which are typically released in the second half of August. But a look at Salesforce's recent performance does show execution and momentum impressive enough to make a case for holding the stock -- even after its big run-up recently.