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Salesforce Rises on Earnings Beat, Improved Outlook

A "strong start to the fiscal year," says CEO Marc Benioff.

Dell PR

Shares of rose after the company reported quarterly earnings that were better than what analysts had expected.

The company just reported per-share earnings of 11 cents on $1.23 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected Salesforce to report earnings of 10 cents a share on a non-GAAP basis and revenue of $1.2 billion.

Cash flow from operations during the quarter rose 67 percent from the same period a year ago to $473 million.

Salesforce shares rose by more than two percent to $54.26 in after-hours trading after closing at $52.89 during the regular session.

The company also raised its revenue guidance for the year, saying it expects between $5.3 billion and $5.34 billion, up from its prior guidance range of $5.25 billion and $5.3 billion. It said it expects to earn between 49 cents and 51 cents on a non-GAAP basis for the year. Analysts have forecast 50 cents.

CEO Marc Benioff called it a “strong start to the fiscal year” in a statement.

In a brief interview with Re/code, CFO Graham Smith said one reason for the sunnier outlook is that Salesforce improved its attrition rate, or the rate at which it loses customers, for the 19th quarter in a row. “It helped us feel confident that we could raise the revenue guidance for the year,” Smith said. (Smith announced plans to resign last quarter, but is still on the job until early next year.)

During the same interview, President and Vice Chairman Keith Block said the company continues to take market share in its primary line of business, its Customer Relationship Management application. “We grew our market share by more than all four of our nearest competitors combined,” Block said.

In its most recent survey of the CRM software marketplace research firm Gartner pegged Salesforce’s share of the $20 billion CRM market at about 16 percent in 2013, ahead of SAP’s 13 percent and Oracle’s 10 percent. Microsoft and IBM combined for about 11 percent.

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