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Why Salesforce.com Looks Strong After Q2 Earnings

By Trevor Jennewine, Jon Quast, and Brian Withers – Sep 10, 2021 at 8:09AM

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This enterprise software giant continues to impress Wall Street.

Salesforce.com (CRM 0.73%) specializes in customer relationship management. Its software drives productivity across departments like sales, customer service, marketing, and commerce, helping clients build a good rapport with their customers. Not surprisingly, the stock has outperformed the market over the long term, rising 74% in the last three years.

More recently, Salesforce delivered strong earnings for the second quarter of fiscal 2022. In this Backstage Pass video from Motley Fool Live, which aired on Aug. 26, Motley Fool contributors Jon Quast and Brian Withers discuss the company's results, including the impact of the recent Slack acquisition.

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Jon Quast: Salesforce reported earnings for the second quarter of their fiscal 2022 yesterday, and the stock popped about 5% today and it's now beating the market for this year. Let's start with the top line. If we look at Salesforce's revenue for the quarter, they reported revenue of $6.34 billion. Now, the show is "Beat and Raise," so that was a guidance beat. The high end of management's guidance was $6.23 billion, so they beat by about $100,000 there on the top line. Just one note. This company acquired Slack, if you guys know Slack Technologies. I think this was actually a Motley Fool recommendation, and Salesforce -- now they've acquired them -- that's now the continuing recommendation. It did include a little bit of Slack's revenue, but it was so late in the quarter that the Slack acquisition is not the reason that it was able to beat on its top line. It beat the old fashion way. It's simply acquired more customers and did more business than it was expecting. This also beat analysts' expectations by about the same amount, by about $100,000. Forward guidance, they did not keep it the same, they raised it, so they did the beat and raise. Previously, they were guiding for $26 billion on the high end for this year, and now, they're guiding for between $26.2 [billion] and $26.3 [billion], so they've raised full-year guidance by about $200,000, $300,000. Analysts love this. I was looking earlier today across the board. This is a company that a lot of analysts follow, and across the board, probably a dozen of these professional analysts raised their price targets for Salesforce stock.

Now, if we go to the bottom line, earnings per share, now this is non-GAAP. This is what the analysts are looking at, and this is what management is guiding for. The non-GAAP earnings-per-share was $1.48 on the bottom line. That was actually a very big beat. Management had guided for only $0.92, so basically, a 50% beat on the bottom line. Analysts were expecting the same thing. They were expecting what management had guided, so just blew away analysts from their expectations. They then went ahead and raised forward guidance on the bottom line as well. They were saying $3.81 on the high end, now, they're saying it's $4.36-$4.38 for a full-year non-GAAP earnings per share. Beat and raise on both the top and the bottom line.

Brian Withers: Excellent. Jon, that just sounds like you got invited out for an ice cream cone, and when you get there, they said, "Well, you can have a double-scoop with some crunchies on top and some whipped cream." [laughs]

Quast: Couldn't say it any better.

Withers: I wanted to talk a little bit about the Slack acquisition and how members should think about acquisitions and earnings reports with acquired companies in the mix. I don't know exactly the date that Slack, they completed their integration, and so there's usually a specific date where they start recognizing revenue on Salesforce's books versus Slack's books. It sounds like that was the last few weeks of the quarter, maybe even the last month of the quarter. Slack is pretty small in comparison to this giant Salesforce, but what happens is all of that, since they weren't included in the revenue a quarter ago or a year-ago quarter, it all looks like upside. If it was $100 of revenue in the quarter, it's versus $0 from the previous quarter. What Jon was explaining is it's important that people understand it wasn't all this acquisition beat, it was real execution and great offerings with customers buying more and more.

Quast: Yes. I think it was about nine days of the quarter that Slack was included in there, so very minimal impact on the top line.

Withers: Absolutely. What I see sometimes, so next quarter, they obviously forecasted with Slack in the mix, and that will show. Usually, they'll split it out for a little while. I'd like to see them split it out until there's a full five quarters of results, and you can actually get year-over-year results and then it becomes organic revenue versus acquisition revenue.

Quast: I didn't write down the growth rate for some reason. I think it was 22% for Salesforce and Slack was a much faster growth rate. It's actually accelerated since they joined the Salesforce family somewhere in the ballpark of 39%. What you're seeing is basically the cross-sell opportunity. As Salesforce, it already has this established customer base, now, it can bring this new product offering to its existing customers, and so we're seeing Slack's revenue growth accelerate.

Withers: That's awesome. That's exactly what made the whole synergy thing make sense, is Salesforce gives a ton of credibility to Slack, and certainly, it's not the small little business that's going to get crushed by Microsoft over the long term. If that was holding customers back from committing to Slack, that's no longer the issue at all.

Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Trevor Jennewine has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Microsoft and Salesforce.com. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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