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5 Metrics Capture salesforce.com's Strong Second Quarter

By Daniel Sparks - Aug 31, 2018 at 5:05PM

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The software-as-a-service company's relentless momentum continues.

Despite the Street's high expectations for salesforce.com (CRM 1.62%) going into the company's second-quarter results for its fiscal 2019, the software-as-a-service company beat consensus analyst estimates and raised its outlook for the full year. The quarter included accelerating revenue growth, surging cash flow from operations, impressive growth in unearned revenue, and more.

Here's a look at some of the key metrics from Salesforce's second quarter.

Exterior entryway of Salesforce Tower in Indianapolis

Image source: Salesforce.com.

1. Revenue jumped 27%

Salesforce's fiscal second-quarter revenue increased by 27% year over year, to nearly $3.3 billion. Highlighting the company's strong momentum, this is a significant increase compared to Salesforce's 25% revenue growth in its first quarter.

In addition, the acceleration is even more impressive when adjusting for currency changes. Constant currency year-over-year revenue growth in fiscal Q2 was 27%, up from 22% growth in Q1.

Total revenue of $3.28 billion was well ahead of a consensus analyst estimate for revenue of $3.23 billion. 

2. Cash from operations surged 38%

Putting the spotlight on Salesforce's solid fundamentals, the company's cash generated from operations increased 38% year over year, to $458 million in Q2. This helped Salesforce's total cash equivalents and marketable securities come in at $3.43 billion by the end of the quarter.

3. Salesforce's unearned revenue increased 24%

Since Salesforce's business is primarily driven by recurring revenue, one key metric investors should keep an eye on is the company's unearned revenue. Salesforce's unearned revenue -- referred to as deferred revenue up until the company's adoption of Topic 606 accounting earlier this year -- refers to the company's billings and payments received before they're recognized as revenue. 

Unearned revenue on the balance sheet at the end of the quarter was $5.88 billion, up 24% year over year. While this growth rate is lower than the 25% year-over-year growth in unearned revenue that Salesforce saw in Q1, it's higher than first-quarter unearned revenue year-over-year growth on a constant-currency basis. Constant currency unearned revenue in Q1 increased 23% year over year.

4. Service cloud revenue increased 27%

While Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block said the company's results were driven by strong performance across all of its subscription clouds, industry segments, and geographies, one highlight from the quarter was the company's continued rapid growth in its service cloud -- a segment management is betting will benefit from companies looking to differentiate themselves from others by providing better service. Service cloud, which accounts for 27% of total revenue, grew by 27% year over year during Q2. 

Though this is down from the 29% year-over-year growth that service cloud saw in Q1, it's still a very rapid rate, considering it represents such a meaningful portion of Salesforce's business. 

5. Salesforce expects full-year revenue to rise 25%

As expected, Salesforce raised its outlook for fiscal 2019 full-year revenue, keeping with its long-standing track record of giving its guidance a lift every quarter. Management said it expected full-year revenue between $13.125 billion and $13.175 billion, representing 25% year-over-year revenue growth. This is up from management's previous outlook for full-year revenue between $13.075 billion and $13.125 billion.

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