Another Dreamforce is nearly upon us.
Salesforce's (CRM) - Get Report annual extravaganza bringing together customers, employees and partners kicks off this week in San Francisco, including the three-day Dreamforce event as well as an investor day conference. Salesforce shares were down 0.36% to $162.60 on Monday afternoon and are up about 19% this year.
Salesforce co-CEOs Marc Benioff and Keith Block will deliver the opening keynote on Nov. 19 at 10 AM PT, outlining the vision for the event and for Salesforce's current priorities. In addition to a bevy of Salesforce executives and customers, various luminaries from the tech world and beyond are due to speak at the event, including Apple (AAPL) - Get Report CEO Tim Cook and former President Barack Obama.
Alongside Dreamforce, Salesforce management is also due to meet with investors and analysts on Wednesday and into Thursday. Here are the top things to watch for:
1. Margin Expansion
Writing in a recent note, BMO Capital Markets' Keith Bachman said that Salesforce's margins are likely to be an area of focus, given its string of big-ticket purchases over the past several months.
"We believe the underlying business is doing very well. However, management has been very acquisitive, so consolidated margins are not expanding," he wrote. In June, Salesforce acquired the data visualization platform Tableau for $15.7 billion; it also acquired ClickSoftware, a software firm for field service, for $1.4 billion in August.
Bachman noted that while Salesforce's revenues have grown steadily over many years, its margins have not expanded meaningfully and are projected to come in at 16.6% for fiscal 2020. By comparison, that figure was roughly the same, at 16.5%, for fiscal 2018, and has been relatively consistent dating back years.
2. Long-Term Targets
Investors will likely want to hear more about the trade-off between Salesforce's core business and its acquisition strategy, and how the two will come together to deliver results for the stock. Year to date, Salesforce shares are up 16%, having stumbled throughout much of the third quarter amid trade turmoil and other macro issues.
Salesforce management may also update its long-term targets this week, which could provide some welcome assurance that its recent acquisitions will boost the core business in the near future. The company has set a goal of between $26 and 28 billion in revenue by fiscal 2023, which would represent a robust step up from where it is now. Revenue for fiscal 2020 is expected to come in at between $16.75 billion to $16.90 billion.
Salesforce has told investors that its acquisitions of Tableau, ClickSoftware and Salesforce.org will be additive to its fiscal 2020 revenue targets, but management will give an official number at its investor day this week, wrote Jeffries analyst Brent Thill in a recent note.
"Salesforce.com is also in the early innings of the Tableau integration and we expect management to provide more color at Dreamforce 2019," he wrote.
3. Adoption of New Products
Outside of recent acquisitions, investors will also look for more updates and commentary on the customer response to Salesforce's existing product offerings, whether they be organically developed or the result of an acquisition. Two notable products include its set of Einstein AI features, and Mulesoft, the app integration platform that Salesforce acquired in 2018 for $6.5 billion.
Based on a partner survey, Jeffries' Thill wrote that the recent adoption of Einstein features and Mulesoft by existing Salesforce customers appears healthy. Investors should keep an eye on whether Salesforce can replicate that type of success in selling even newer offerings, namely Tableau, to its customer base.
"Key areas to watch include some noise in business momentum (normal seasonality before the strong F4Q) within the partner ecosystem and slower adoption of DATA by CRM customers relative to MuleSoft," Thill wrote.
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