Sometimes you get an honest-to-Betsy absolute blowout: a number so astounding that the doubters say "wow" on the call and the short sellers just say "OK, gotta go take the medicine."
That's what happened with Salesforce.com (CRM) last night, a wow quarter that answered every objection and then some.
I never want to think that I had a hand in getting more clarity out of a company, but when Salesforce.com was a relatively little company, well under a billion, I fell in love with the product and wanted CEO Mark Benioff on the show. Benioff proceeded to deliver unbelievable numbers, growing first to $1 billion then to $2 billion in sales in the fastest ever trajectory I have ever seen. It was remarkable what his cloud-based customer-relations software was doing, revolutionizing how software was purchased -- actually all cloud based -- and sending CEOs to heaven for making selling more systemized and rigorous.
The stock went up and up and up with the revenue growth.
Then, last quarter, it was clear to me that Benioff didn't give enough information to satisfy what had become an army of doubters. We had all become conditioned to thinking that when you get bigger you have to play by the rules set by Microsoft (MSFT) and Oracle (ORCL) and we needed to know genuine granularity about deferred revenues as a way to model earnings.
Benioff didn't give it to us and the stock sold off 25%, even though he urged me and others to trust him that the metric wasn't all that good an indicator and this was the moment to focus on sales.
Last night he came on "Mad Money" and said he heard me and he gave us a level of granularity on deferred revenues that showed radical ACCELERATION and a level of bookings that were off the charts vs. expectations. It was astounding. Nine times out of ten when someone doesn't give you the data (no, make that ten times out of ten) it's because the data's no good. It's hidden for a reason.
Not at Salesforce. This data presents a company that is growing much, much faster than not just the bears thought, but the bulls too. And it is not giving the stuff away. It is signing huge deals, including a nine-figure deal and nine eight-figure deals, including a monster transaction with Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and they are doing it full price.
Of course Benioff chose to have some fun on the call. I urge you to listen him talking about how his competitors, chiefly Oracle, are grasping at straws with their acquisitions. In one totally hilarious moment he questions why good entrepreneurs would sell out to boring companies like SAP (SAP) and Oracle. He also jokes that Hewlett sales people gave a standing O to Meg Whitman when she switched from Oracle's Seibel system to CRM.
But otherwise it was just all blocking and tackling and spreading the gospel of a mobile, social and cloud solution given that so many in the enterprise need something that synchs with their iPhone or their Blackberry and not some old line nonmobile, expensive solution from Oracle or Microsoft that doesn't synch at all.
The gospel makes a lot of sense.Think about the rebellion going on at old enterprises, think about how new enterprises work. The salespeople and the execs are all mobile, they are largely social (CRM offers a Facebook-like unduplicated Chatter solution for the enterprise). Oracle and Microsoft don't have anything that fits the new paradigm or the software renaissance as Benioff repeatedly calls it.
So, Benioff crows and the shorts eat crow. This one's not done going up because Benioff answered the catcaller and the deriders. Or, in poker terms, the shorts were bluffing and Benioff's got a $3 billion full house, going to a $10 billion straight flush in record time.
More from Jim Cramer: