Greater Buy: Adobe vs. Salesforce

Adobe Systems (NASDAQ:ADBE) opened for company in 1984 and within a ten years the business had produced two of its trademark products and solutions: Acrobat and Photoshop. These application resources are continue to at the coronary heart of Adobe’s digital media company, but the business has extra a short while ago expanded into purchaser knowledge management (CXM). (NYSE:CRM) was established in 1999, pioneering the principle of cloud computing with its sales pressure automation software package. Like Adobe, its system has expanded more than the decades, turning out to be an considerable suite of buyer connection management (CRM) applications.

CXM and CRM solutions overlap to a diploma, with equally vying for commerce and advertising and marketing devote. In other terms, Adobe and Salesforce, two of the largest business software program providers in the entire world, have little by little grow to be competitors. So, which is the much better buy currently?

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Image source: Getty Pictures.


The Salesforce Customer 360 system assists customers establish and sustain interactions with their very own buyers. It presents a array of cloud-based mostly CRM programs aimed at bettering profits, provider, marketing, and commerce. Shoppers also have access to the Salesforce AppExchange, a marketplace of personalized-built alternatives.

To continue to be on the slicing edge, Salesforce has invested heavily in its Einstein platform, an AI engine that assists clientele operate additional productively. For occasion, Einstein immediately translates text, eradicating language limitations for company brokers. It also provides predictive insights and suggestions, this sort of as suggesting the upcoming best action for a profits agent.

These AI-driven alternatives are designed all the additional worthwhile by Salesforce’s enormous consumer base, which at the moment exceeds 150,000 businesses. As far more clientele be part of and generate more information, Einstein should come to be far more clever, allowing for Salesforce to develop new use situations. And so much, that is just what is actually going on: The corporation declared that Einstein created 80 billion AI-run predictions just about every working day in fiscal 2021 (ended Jan. 31, 2021), up from just 1 billion for each day in 2019.

Salesforce has also put in billions on acquisitions, paying for analytics company Tableau in 2019 for $15.7 billion, information integration expert MuleSoft in 2018 for $6.5 billion, and most not long ago, Slack for $27.7 billion. These mergers have manufactured its platform far more strong, including sizeable benefit for clients.

The blend of ground breaking items and smart acquisitions has driven stable economic performance.






$8.437 billion

$21.25 billion


Absolutely free money stream

$1.698 billion

$4.091 billion


Info resource: Salesforce SEC Filings. Take note: Fiscal 2021 ended Jan. 31, 2021. CAGR = compound annual growth rate.

Salesforce has sturdy management in CEO Marc Benioff, and its Client 360 platform assists enterprises link with their shoppers — that’s a significant ingredient of almost any organization. Inspite of its $205 billion market cap, I believe that Salesforce can be several times larger sized than it is these days.

Adobe Programs

Adobe’s business enterprise is constructed around three software-as-a-services (SaaS) platforms: Imaginative Cloud, Doc Cloud, and Encounter Cloud. A lot of of its imaginative goods (e.g., Photoshopand Illustrator) have become market expectations, and its PDF doc tools have realized world wide ubiquity.

Adobe’s foray into the CXM sector has also been successful. Research agency Gartner just lately acknowledged its digital working experience system as the sector leader, citing its real-time personalization abilities as a key differentiator. In another Gartner report, Adobe’s internet marketing computer software outranked all rivals (which includes Salesforce) throughout all four use circumstances: creation, orchestration, execution, and measurement of promoting campaigns.

On the other hand, Adobe’s finest asset is the complementary nature of its SaaS choices. Alongside one another, they develop an close-to-conclusion resolution, enabling entrepreneurs to style persuasive content material and provide personalised client interactions.

That value proposition has pushed potent money effectiveness more than time.



Q1 2021 (TTM)



$5.85 billion



Cost-free income stream

$1.995 billion



Data source: Adobe SEC Filings. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Adobe recently declared robust 1st-quarter benefits, with the company’s revenue development accelerating throughout all a few SaaS platforms. As electronic transformation continues to sweep across industries, Adobe’s products and solutions should really benefit from increased demand. As with Salesforce, I consider Adobe stock features traders a excellent harmony of prospective upside and security.

The verdict

Each of these tech companies have sent solid economic effects above the extensive time period. Furthermore, Adobe and Salesforce have built strong models and equally must benefit as digitization drives the adoption of CXM and CRM solutions.

That getting said, there can only be one particular winner: Salesforce. Its best line is developing much more promptly, and the stock trades at eight instances revenue, whilst shares of Adobe trade at 17 instances income. Salesforce dominates the CRM marketplace, and I believe it will keep that management posture for numerous many years to appear.

This post represents the impression of the author, who may well disagree with the “official” recommendation situation of a Motley Fool high quality advisory provider. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our very own — helps us all feel critically about investing and make conclusions that assistance us become smarter, happier, and richer.