Salesforce is concentrating on 25% working margin in 2026

Bret Taylor, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce.com Inc., right, and Marc Benioff, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce.com Inc., wear bunny ears during a keynote address at the 2022 Dreamforce Conference in San Francisco, California. on Tuesday, September 20th, 2022.

Marlena Slots | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Salesforce shares rose nearly 3% in extended trading on Wednesday after the enterprise software maker announced a new long-term profitability target that showed the company’s determination to operate more efficiently.

Several cloud software companies, including Salesforce, have become less attractive to investors as interest rates have risen to respond to higher prices this year after becoming more glamorous during the Covid pandemic as companies ramped up their use of programs that employees could use without being in offices.

Cloud company management teams have attempted to regain interest by emphasizing cost-saving plans and advancing their timelines to profitability. Salesforce itself said it would be more cautious about adding talent.

The company went further on Thursday when Salesforce chief financial officer Amy Weaver announced new targets for fiscal 2026 at the company’s investor day held during its Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. The company is targeting an adjusted operating margin of 25%, including future acquisitions, she said. That compares to the 20% target Salesforce announced a year ago for fiscal 2023. Adjusted operating margin for the quarter ended July 31 was 19.9%.

Salesforce said it intends to push adjusted sales and marketing spend as a percentage of revenue below 35% by 2026 through increased self-service efforts, alliances with partners, and productivity gains for sales reps. Marketing is about using your own marketing channels. Sales and marketing accounted for over 44% of revenue on a GAAP basis for the July quarter.

Additionally, Salesforce strives to manage general and administrative expenses, in part by valuing real estate assets for a hybrid workplace.

Weaver reiterated the $50 billion revenue target for fiscal 2026 announced a year ago, but said the figure now accounts for a $2 billion headwind from exchange rates since last year’s investor day.

Salesforce shares hit a 52-week low on Wednesday. The company has begun repurchasing its own stock as part of its first stock buyback program, Weaver said.

CLOCK: Salesforce’s Taylor on the company’s commitment to profitability and returning cash to shareholders

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