Why do people achieve goals? Motivation for one. Desire. Dreams.
The best salespeople are goal driven. (It might be a question that you ask your sales prospects: "Are you goal driven? What are you goals for 2012?")
Jim Rohn says, "the major reason for setting a goal is for what it makes of you to accomplish it."
So why doesn't Quota work?
Quota is a goal given to the salesperson. The salesperson does not have ownership of it.
This is a failure of sales management, where the quota should be discussed and agreed upon. Then there is ownership.
That doesn't mean that you can't disagree with the quota and fire them on the spot.
Moreover, the salesperson doesn't have real WHY attached to it, which is the cornerstone for motivation to hit a goal. Motivation - despite what many think - is internal, not external.
Other reasons that Quota doesn't work are as follows: No Focus and Poor Execution.
Focus comes from knowing who the qualified targets are and why they buy. Focus comes from a compensation plan that pays for (achievable) results. Focus comes when there is sales support.
Poor Execution has to do with being busy instead of being productive. executing on an Action Plan or Sales Plan that is in tune with both quota and the compensation plan.
That's why Quota doesn't work. It's usually an arbitrary number dropped on the salesperson with a catalog of products and no idea who wants them or why they would want them. "Go figure it out!"