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Here, we interview Luke Saunders, Sales Strategy and Customer Services Manager at Opteven, to discuss his role within the company, what sets Opteven apart from its competitors and how he sees the market developing in the coming years.

What does your role entail?

My current role is quite varied as I look after a team of four individuals who each have a very different role. One of my team is a customer service and sales adviser, whose responsibility it is to handle in-bound calls and offer renewals to policy holders who are coming to the end of their policies. I also have a sales administrator on my team, who works with our field-based Account Management team to provide internal support to our dealer partners. Then we have a commercial analyst – his responsibility is to create reports based on sales and claims data that is then shared with our dealer partners. Finally, our fourth member is our CRM Manager, who makes sure that data is up-to-date in the CRM system and that the CRM process is as smooth as possible.

As well as providing assistance to my own team, I am also often called on to provide support to the field-based account management team and the two Regional Sales Managers – North and South, as I have previous experience in this area. Finally, I work alongside the project management team to help develop new products. At the moment we are concentrating on our project ‘Optimise’ which is all about streamlining our product offering for our dealers.

Can you tell us a bit more about your background before you got the role you have today?

Prior to my current role, I spent five years working for a Perrys car dealership selling both new and used cars. I then joined Opteven in 2019 as Regional Account Manager, before being promoted to Area Sales Manager for the South to head up the AA warranty offering. I later left the company for a year, but returned in my current role after speaking to Andy – our Sales and Customer Service Director – and discussing his vision for the future of Opteven, which sounded really exciting.

Thanks to my combination of in-dealership and field-based experience, I am able to understand the challenges faced by both our dealer partners and our sales team on a day-to-day basis as well as having an understanding of the sales process itself. I believe this places me in good stead to support my team and the wider sales department.

What do you like most about your role?

I love working across different areas of the company and with different departments, such as the claims and sales teams. I also enjoy being able to have a say within the different departments and helping to shape our sales process and products as they develop. I believe that since the recent rebrand from WMS to Opteven, the culture in the office has been very positive and we have a lot to be excited about, such as our expanding corporate partnerships.

What challenges do you face on a day-to-day basis?

We have a lot of competition as the warranty business is quite a crowded market, so providing the best pricing and coverage level can be challenging. Subsequently, the cost-of-living crisis has had its toll on all our departments. However, we are a reputable and trustworthy company and we have that longevity and infrastructure to support our bigger corporate clients, enabling us to fulfil the promises that we make to them and all our customers.

How do you see the market developing in the coming years?

At the moment, the market is a lot more technology focused than it was previously. We are getting a better idea of how technology can improve the automotive industry and a lot of processes like ours are moving to an online space, so it is important that we keep our systems up-to-date so we can remain competitive in the current market.

What do you think sets Opteven apart from its competitors?

The fact that we are a large company that spans multiple different countries across Europe means that we have the scale and infrastructure in place to deliver for our key corporate partners – we have experience managing a very large number of policies. We also have a wealth of industry experience across our team, with individuals who have worked for dealerships, car manufacturers, recovery services and repair garages so we can provide real value and insight to our dealer partners.

What was your first car and what do you drive now?

My first car was a red Seat Ibiza and I now drive a Mercedes A-Class Saloon. However, my favourite car I have ever owned was my BMW M2 Competition which I sadly sold a few years ago but now wish I hadn’t!