Salesforce came up with a sturdy fiscal Q3 2017 earnings report Nov. 17, showing a whopping 25.3 percent jump in revenue to $2.14 billion to handily beat Wall Street estimates.
Analysts had expected revenue of $2.12 billion. Deferred revenue also was impressive, rising 23 percent to $3.5 billion in the third quarter.
The company also said that there's a backlog of about $12 billion in revenue that's not yet in the books due to accounting reasons.
Salesforce stockholders earned 24 cents per share in the third quarter, beating the average analyst estimate of 21 cents, according to Thomson Reuters. Nonetheless, the company still finished in the red with a Q3 net loss that expanded to $37.3 million, or 5 cents per share, from $25.2 million, or 4 cents per share, from a year earlier.
CEO and founder Marc Benioff was so enthused that he told analysts on a conference call that 18-year-old sales and marketing web services provider is now looking at its first fiscal year (2018) with $10 billion in revenue.
The report was an early Thanksgiving gift for the company's shareholders, who saw their stock rise in value 5.7 percent to $79.46 in after-hours trading Nov. 17.
"We had an exceptional third quarter. You know already there is no other software company delivering a 27 percent revenue increase," Benioff said on a conference call to analysts. "We expect to deliver our first $10 billion year during our fiscal year 2018."
Salesforce launched its artificial intelligence platform, Einstein, at its DreamForce conference last month and has made a number of moves to add business intelligence and machine learning capabilities into its popular platform for marketing and sales professionals.
The company's acquisitions to build up these capabilities come through the addition of startups RelateIQ, MetaMind, Implicit and PredictionIO.
Salesforce has reported double-digit growth pretty consistently in recent quarters. However, it is facing increasing pressure from old-school IT kingpins Oracle and Microsoft, which are building out their cloud portfolios and spending a ton of marketing dollars promoting them.