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Wall Street is bullish on Salesforce, for now

Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive officer of Salesforce.com.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive officer of Salesforce.com.

Searching for Salesforce investors at the Dreamforce conference this week? Then just look for the smiling faces.

That's because the stock has enjoyed a strong run this year. It's now up some 20 percent and is on pace for its fourth-straight positive year.

CEO Marc Benioff has impressed Wall Street with solid growth. In its last reported quarter, the company said sales jumped 24 percent to $1.63 billion.

Salesforce remains the market leader in the $23 billion customer relations management market, according to research firm Gartner. CRM software allows organizations to manage, organize and track sales leads.

The company's diverse portfolio of apps, including service, marketing and analytics–where Salesforce works with companies including Merck and Barclays, among others–also excites its fans.


"There is still a lot of innovation and new products that can sustain 20 percent growth at Salesforce, which is rare for a company of this size," said FBR's Samad Samana, who also notes the company's commitment to improving profitability as another reason to remain long.

Skeptics are hard to find when it comes to Salesforce. A full 85 percent of financial analysts covering the stock now rate it a "buy" according to Factset.

But count Steve Koenig of Wedbush as cautious. He rates the stock "neutral."

Why the lukewarm attitude?

In part, Koenig notes that the company's market cap—$47 billion—is already bigger than the current CRM market. In other words, it has maxed out that opportunity.

So, in order to commit capital to Salesforce at this price, investors need to know that Benioff can replicate the success he's had in CRM with other verticals. That, Koenig told CNBC, still isn't certain.

Of course, there is also the risk of competition and not just from established tech giants such as Oracle, SAP and Microsoft but also players like Marketo in marketing automation as well as Tableau Software in analytics.

Despite such potential challenges, it is clearly the bulls that are in charge when it comes to Salesforce. Investors are convinced that Benioff is right: that the company will continue its strong run and be the fastest enterprise software company in history to reach $10 billion in revenue.