Salesforce.com (CRM 3.50%) is a lead player in the business of selling cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. And there's no denying that Salesforce has seen exceptional stock growth in the past three years. Fiscal year 2018 marked the stock's most outstanding recent performance, reporting a revenue increase of 25%. Its stock surged by 45% in response.
The stock price maintained a steady, less exciting pace through 2019, when its revenue increased by 27% and the share price went up by 35%. Since January 2019, however, the company's stock price held a fairly steady course between $130 and $160, a range below analyst projections, leading investors to wonder whether Salesforce had peaked.
Here are three factors that could mean Salesforce's stock will soar in 2020:
1. The plateau is temporary
Salesforce's stock has stalled for much of 2019. But there are significant indications that the plateau is temporary. The following catalysts can propel the stock forward in the near future.
The shift to the cloud
Salesforce is a lead player in the cloud revolution. Yet estimates indicate that as much as 80% of enterprise operations are not on the cloud yet. As more companies shift to the cloud, Salesforce's business can increase exponentially.
This is a term that deals with large data sets collected by enterprises and how they use the data to recognize patterns and create products and solutions for customers. Although there's a lot of buzz around "big data," the fact is that many enterprises are just beginning their shift into using this field. As more companies interact with their consumer bases online, data collection and the need for data storage will increase. And this is where Salesforce comes in with cloud services and tools to facilitate big data storage and processing.
Additionally, the stock price plateau could simply be a case of investors taking the opportunity to catch their collective breath. It's an accepted fact that Salesforce has been a disruptive player in the CRM space-hence the sense of excitement for 2018. A temporary pullback to understand more about the nature of this disruptive force and how it will evolve in the near future is a normal part of stock price growth.
2. Long-term investors have an advantage
Salesforce's stock price may have slowed, but projected revenue growth for fiscal year 2020 remains strong. Analysts' buy recommendations are based on confidence that Salesforce can sustain earnings above 20% through 2020, making the stock an attractive choice for long term investors. The slower growth in 2019 offered opportunities for long-term investors to get in on Salesforce at a good price.
3. The service cloud is important
The breather in Salesforce's stock price can provide the opportunity to find out more about the components that make up Salesforce.com's complete CRM solution. For example, software as a service (SaaS) companies know that their customers want an easy buying experience, and what makes them happier is easy access to responsive support.
In August, Salesforce acquired ClickSoftware a company that specializes in mobile field service management for $1.35 billion. Shortly prior to that deal, Salesforce made its biggest company purchase to date by acquiring data visualization company Tableau for $15.7 billion. Incorporating Tableau into the Salesforce service cloud is a key move to provide enterprise customers with the data visualization tools they need.
Transforming legacy companies
Salesforce's latest acquisitions offer some clear indications about its future intentions. Cloud-based tools and big data are key elements in the digital enterprise -- the new way of doing business.
And a significant number of businesses are just beginning to shift their operations to the cloud. Salesforce plans to be a leader offering solutions to make the shift go smoothly. And this is the foresight on the part of Salesforce that makes the stock a good buy.