I doubt it was a poor job. And I’m not sure that budding would have worked any better, though it might have. I suspect that the grafts haven’t taken yet because they’re being held back by hormones from the higher part of the tree.
If that’s true than something that could help would be to cut a notch in the bark just above the point where the branch you are grafting to attaches to the trunk. Cut completely through the bark and remove a strip about 1/8" wide. Make sure the cut overlaps the branch diameter on each side- the cut you make should be about three times the diameter of the branch. So a 1/2" diameter branch needs a 1 1/2" cut.
Budding is often done in the summer, and in that case you wait until the next season to force the bud. But if you bud (or chip) early enough in the summer you can try to force the bud the same year. (Unless I’m confused- I’ve not done much spring budding at all, so that could be. I do like chipping in the spring though, and sometimes do it as a backup to a cleft or whip or such.)